Absent of any real political power, one of the only tools those in the private sector have is public shaming.
Last year, government figures like Sarah Sanders, Mitch McConnell, and Kirstjen Nielsen got a taste of how their services were sitting with the public when they were harassed in restaurants–which turned the discourse toward “civility.” This week, comedian Hasan Minhaj took a moment to shame achievement-free boy wonder Jared Kushner in full view of the entire world.
Kushner, who just this week likened Russian interference in the 2016 election to “a couple of Facebook ads,” was one of many in attendance at the Time 100 Gala, an event honoring Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019. When Minhaj, who was one of the honorees, got up to make a speech, he did not to waste his rare audience with the president’s son-in-law, the person tasked with bringing peace to the Middle East. Instead, he decided to shoot his shot.
“We have a lot of rights here in America, and safety, that we take for granted a lot of the time,” Minhaj began, before turning attention toward the plight of Loujain al-Hathloul, a brave activist who fought against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, and is currently incarcerated in a Saudi prison. The Patriot Act host then demonstrated his free speech rights, the ones al-Hathloul sadly lacks, with a thinly veiled plea for Kushner to use his reported WhatsApp connection with Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman to help free al-Hathloul.
It’s simultaneously a bold move, a funny bit, and possibly a step toward shaming the administration that took no punitive action against the Saudis for the (alleged) murder of an American journalist into doing something positive.
Watch the powerful moment below, starting at around the :45 mark
— TIME (@TIME) April 24, 2019