Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is being accused of fabrication after conservatives on Twitter suggested that she may have stolen a story from Martin Luther King Jr.
The allegations unfolded on Tuesday after an October interview between Harris and ELLE Magazine began circulating online due to a passage concerning an alleged incident from the politician’s childhood.
Based on claims from her mother, Harris says that she had once fallen out of her stroller while being pushed through a civil rights march in Oakland, California.
Harris’ mother reportedly circled-back and located her visibly upset child. That’s when the young Harris allegedly told her mother that she wanted freedom, or as she claims to have pronounced it, “Fweedom.”
“My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing and she’s like, ‘Baby what do you want? What do you need? And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom,'” Harris said.
The story took an even stranger turn when another Twitter user found a similar remark made by King during a 1965 interview with Playboy.
King recalled seeing a young Black girl being accosted by police during a demonstration in Alabama. After being confronted by the officer, a scenario nearly identical to the one claimed by Harris played out.
“‘What do you want?’ the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked him straight in the eye and answered, ‘Fee-dom,'” King said. “She couldn’t even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful!”
News of the similarity immediately began to spread online, with many questioning whether Harris had been forthright about her past. The term “Fweedom” even trended on Twitter.
“Joe Biden lied about marching in the Civil Rights Movement and Kamala Harris stole one of MLK’s stories and told it as her own…” @thejtlewis alleged.
Others argued that Harris had merely retold a story told to her by her mother, suggesting that even if the tale was fake, Harris may not have known.
“So it reads to me like a case of her mother telling her the story like it was her as the little girl & Kamala believed her,” @witbeak said. “It doesn’t say she remembers that part, it says her mother tells it that way.”
Harris has told the story more than once. The alleged incident was also featured in her 2010 book “Smart on Crime” and again in her 2019 book “The Truths We Told: An American Journey.”
Whether the story is actually fabricated remains unknown. Harris has yet to publicly comment on the plagiarism allegations.