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Bette Midler Apologizes For Calling West Virginians ‘Poor, Illiterate and Strung Out’

The singer said she was 'just seeing red' because of Senator Joe Manchin

Singer Bette Midler apologized after criticizing the people of West Virginia in a tweet intended to criticize Joe Manchin.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announced on Dec. 20 that he would not support President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act. Support for the $1.9 trillion spending plan was evenly split. Democrats were depending on Machin’s vote along with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. 

“If I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it. And I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there,” Manchin said in an interview on Dec. 19. 

Midler, the 76-year-old Hocus Pocus star, took to Twitter to voice her displeasure regarding the senator’s decision. 

What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible,” she wrote. “He sold us out. He wants us all to be just like his state, West Virginia. Poor, illiterate and strung out.”

“I apologize to the good people of WVA for my last outburst,” she tweeted. “I’m just seeing red; #JoeManchin and his whole family are a criminal enterprise. Is he really the best WV has to offer its own citizens?

“Surely there’s someone there who has the state’s interests at heart, not his own!” she added.

Mider’s apology was not enough to stem the wave of criticism she is now facing.

Kelsey Chapman, a native of West Virginia who now lives in New York, wrote that the singer’s comments reflect the frustrating stereotypes that plague the state.

We’re simultaneously too stupid to wear shoes, but so evil we’ll murder anyone who looks different,” Chapman wrote for The Independent.

Midler’s comments indicate a deep misunderstanding of how systems of power oppress those inside them, likely because she’s been richer than God for so long she’s forgotten how it is for families living below the poverty line.”

She added that a broken education system contributes to below-average literacy rates while “the only way out of generational poverty in West Virginia is usually to go to work for the mines.”

Midler “has previously been accused of racism while dismissing black Trump supporters, and poked fun at then-first lady Melania Trump’s accent, calling her an ‘illegal alien’ and ‘FLOTITS,” reports The New York Post.

In June of 2019, she “shared a fake quote attributed to President Donald Trump, who dismissed the actress as a ‘washed up psycho.’”

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