The protester, identified as Aiden Cook, 24, hopped onto the convention stage in San Francisco and snatched the microphone from Harris, saying he wanted to discuss “a much bigger issue,” the Mercury News of San Jose reported.
Harris look startled as the protester approached. The California Democrat, who is seeking the national party’s 2020 presidential nomination, had been speaking about gender pay equality during a discussion sponsored by the liberal group MoveOn.org.
Moderator Karine Jean-Pierre quickly stood up, yelling, “Hey, hey!,” and attempted to grab the microphone back from Cook when security personnel suddenly intervened and took Cook away.
“It’s OK, folks. People have their own big ideas but we also want to make sure we are being respectful,” DJ Carmen Spindiego said as Harris briefly left the stage.
The candidate soon returned, laughing to cheers of “Kamala!”
“It’s all good, don’t worry,” Harris reassured the audience.
After the event, MoveOn posted an apology to Harris on Twitter.
“We sincerely regret that a protestor was able to gain access to the stage at our forum today & we apologize to Sen. @KamalaHarris,” the message said. “The protestor was removed & the program resumed. MoveOn members were excited to hear Harris continue to discuss her Big Idea to achieve pay equity.”
Animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere said afterward that Cook wanted to “call on Harris to support ordinary citizens rescuing animals,” the Bay Area’s FOX 2 reported.
A total of 14 presidential candidates congregated at the convention Saturday, drawing both by cheers and some heckling at their respective appearances. The event represented an opportunity to win support from voters and party activists in the nation’s most populous state.
While Harris had a strong start in January, her campaign has stalled in recent weeks as other Democrats have raised their profiles.
Cook told reporters he was not being charged with a crime, according to the Mercury News.