Why is Kamala Harris’ 'Fweedom' story trending?

VICE President-elect Kamala Harris is being accused of plagiarizing a story from her childhood similar to one told by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

She recounted the story to Elle Magazine back in October, with many taking to Twitter to criticize her for the similarities.

Why is Kamala Harris’ 'Fweedom' story trending?

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with Elle Magazine for a profile story prior to winning the 2020 election to discuss her life and achievements.

In the piece, Harris recounts a story her mother told her while they were attending a civil rights march in Oakland, California when she was just a child.

She told Elle: “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.’”

As the story began circulating the internet, Harris was met with widespread criticism on Twitter for allegedly plagiarizing the story from MLK Jr.

What did people say?

Twitter erupted and users began trending the word “fweedom” as they poked fun at the Vice President-elect, claiming that she was “lying” about ever saying that.

One user said: “Guess we know why Biden chose his running mate. He saw a lot of his own plagiarism in her.”

Another added: “pwagerism. She is counting on a press that will wholeheartedly believe her story, and then help her sell it to the voters. She's also counting on a lot of them *willing* it to be true – even when they know it's not.”

Anthony, a contributor editor at MacLean’s magazine, tweeted about the similarities between Harris’ story and MLK Jr.'s while thanking a user for spotting it, saying: “So it turns out Kamala Harris lifted her 'Fweedom' story from a 1965 Playboy interview with Martin Luther King, by Alex Haley. Much thanks to @EngelsFreddie for spotting the similarity.”

Harris reportedly recounted her mother’s story since at least 2004, when she made reference to it in an interview with W Magazine and also wrote about it in her 2009 book, Smart on Crime.

What was Martin Luther King Jr’s story?

MLK Jr. first told a similar story in a 1965 interview with Playboy magazine saying: “I will never forget a moment in Birmingham when a white policeman accosted a little Negro girl, seven or eight years old, who was walking in a demonstration with her mother. 

He continued: “‘What do you want?’ the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked at him straight in the eye and answered, ‘Fee-dom.’ She couldn’t even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful! 

Adding: Many times when I have been in sorely trying situations, the memory of that little one has come into my mind, and has buoyed me.”

Vice President-elect Harris has yet to comment on the accusations.

Was Joe Biden accused of plagiarism?

President-elect Joe Biden was accused of stealing the conclusion of his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention from a dead Canadian politician.

Similarly, as Biden ran as a Democratic presidential candidate in 1987, he allegedly took his closing lines in a debate from UK Labor Party Leader Neil Kinnock – even claiming some of the British politician's family history.

That same year, Biden also admitted to The New York Times that he failed a class in 1965 when he plagiarized a law review article for a paper he wrote in his first year at Syracuse University College of Law.

In 2019, Biden’s campaign admitted it had nabbed wording from nonprofit publications while making points about climate change and education, the Washington Post reported at the time.

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