Michelle Obama Confronts Interrupting Heckler During Speech

Celebrity News Jun. 5, 2013 AT 4:45PM
Michelle Obama abruptly stopped her speech to approach a gay-rights protester on June 4. Michelle Obama abruptly stopped her speech to approach a gay-rights protester on June 4. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Michelle Obama put a heckler in her place after she interrupted the First Lady's speech during a Democratic fundraiser in Washington on Tuesday, June 4, prompting cheers and applause from the crowd.

Obama was more than halfway through her address, held at a home in Northwest Washington, when a woman "at the front of a crowd of about 200 people began shouting for President Obama to issue an executive order" barring federal contracts that would discriminate against employees "based on sexual orientation or gender identity," the New York Times reports.

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The First Lady promptly stopped her speech and told the crowd, "One of the things I don't do well is this," before stalking over to the spot where the protester was shouting and telling the woman that she could either "listen to me or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving."

Obama then turned to the crowd and said, "You all decide. You have one choice."

At that, the audience began to chant for Obama to stay and continue, and one woman told the protester, later identified as GetEQUAL activist Ellen Sturtz: "You need to leave."

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Sturtz managed to get in one last message as she was being escorted out of the home, however, shouting that she was a "lesbian looking for federal equality before I die," according to NBC News.

The crowd cheered as Obama returned to the lectern and continued with the remainder of her speech.

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Sturtz later told the Washington Post that she was shocked at Obama's reaction.

"She came right down in my face," she said. "I was taken aback."

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