Actor and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton appeared to threaten parental rights advocacy group Moms For Liberty.
Burton, who also starred in Star Trek: The Next Generation as Geordi La Forge, hosted PBS’ children’s program Reading Rainbow throughout its 23-season run from 1983 until 2006.
On Wednesday evening, Burton took aim at Moms For Liberty while hosting the National Book Awards ceremony.
The actor opened the ceremony noting he had the “tremendous honor” of serving as Master of Ceremonies for 2019’s 70th National Book Awards.
“It genuinely means the world to me to join you all again on this stage,” Burton said. “To celebrate the importance of literature to our shared culture.”
The former Reading Rainbow host paused before questioning the audience, “Before we get going, are there any Moms For Liberty in the house?”
Burton surveyed the audience as laughter erupted from the crowd.
“Moms For Liberty? No?” he said. “Good.”
“Then hands will not need to be thrown tonight,” he added.
"Before we get going, are there any Moms for Liberty in the house? No? Good. then hands will not need to be thrown tonight."
— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) November 16, 2023
Moms For Liberty responded to Burton’s comments in a Thursday X post.
“American moms weep as a childhood favorite, Reading Rainbow, calls for physical attacks against us because we are protecting the innocence of our children,” the organization wrote.
“LeVar Burton, why have you sunk so low?” Moms For Liberty added. “Threatening physical violence against women?”
American moms weep as a childhood favorite, Reading Rainbow, calls for physical attacks against us because we are protecting the innocence of our children. @levarburton, why have you sunk so low? Threatening physical violence against women? https://t.co/qui0iP3McW
— Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) November 16, 2023
Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms For Liberty, also commented on Burton’s remarks.
“It is truly disheartening that somebody who has been so influential in the lives of children can stoop so low as to threaten their mothers,” Justice said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “What are people like LeVar Burton trying to hide from us that it must come to physical violence to protect their agenda? We will not be deterred, we will continue to fight for our children at every step.”
Critics of Moms For Liberty claim the group seeks to ban books which contain LGBTQ elements. The organization, however, has specifically taken issue with books containing sexually explicit material made available to children in school libraries.
In October, Burton, who served as the honorary chair of the American Library Association’s Banned Books week, released a statement critical of efforts to ban books from school libraries.
“Books bring us together. They teach us about the world and each other,” Burton’s statement read. “The ability to read and access books is a fundamental right and a necessity for life-long success.”
“But books are under attack,” he continued. “They’re being removed from libraries and schools. Shelves have been emptied because of a small number of people and their misguided efforts toward censorship.”
“Public advocacy campaigns like Banned Books Week are essential to helping people understand the scope of book censorship and what they can do to fight it,” he concluded.