Protester grabs Kamala Harris' microphone on stage during MoveOn forum

The protester was removed but not charged

By Daniella Diaz, Kyung Lah and Caroline Kelly, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

An animal rights protester takes a microphone from Sen. Kamala Harris (left) during a forum in San Francisco on June 1, 2019.

(CNN) - An animal rights protester jumped onto a stage and grabbed a microphone from Sen. Kamala Harris at MoveOn's Big Ideas Forum in San Francisco Saturday afternoon.

Approximately 10 minutes into her speech, Harris was asked about her proposal to address the gender pay gap by moderator Stephanie Valencia when she was approached by a tall man dressed in black and wearing a press badge who jumped on the stage. Harris appeared puzzled but remained calm as the protester grabbed the mic from her hand.

"We were protesting just a few minutes ago asking for your attention to a much bigger idea ..." the man said, as moderator Karine Jean-Pierre tried to intervene.

Security jumped onto the stage as the senator calmly walked away from the protester. As the man resisted leaving the stage, Harris' husband Douglas Emhoff jumped in and wrestled the microphone from the protester.

Harris emerged a few moments later to cheers of "Kamala!"

"I'm good, I'm good, it's all good," she told the audience.

The campaign told CNN the senator is doing OK, and a staffer with MoveOn pointed to a tweet in response to an inquiry from CNN on the incident.

"We sincerely regret that a protestor was able to gain access to the stage at our forum today & we apologize to Sen. @KamalaHarris. The protestor was removed & the program resumed. MoveOn members were excited to hear Harris continue to discuss her Big Idea to achieve pay equity," the tweet said.

The protestor was removed from the event and not charged.

After the incident, Sen. Cory Booker told CNN he watched the video and couldn't believe what happened to his colleague.

"He crossed a line, this election's going to go on and I'm really hoping that we see Secret Service and others begin to step in because that really could have been a horrifying moment. Kamala's like a sister to me, I love her and that makes me very upset," he told CNN.

Booker, like Harris, wants to be accessible to all voters and calls security a delicate balance in running for president.

"I'm a pacifist, but if you're on that stage and you want to come at me in that way, it's unacceptable and should be met with the appropriate level of force," said Booker. "This is a risky endeavor, but Kamala is no shrinking violet. She is one of the toughest people I know. So I'm not worried about Kamala. At the end of the day she knows what she's doing."

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