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Who Is Aiden Cook? New Details On The Man Who Rushed The Stage And Took Mic Away From Kamala Harris

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Who Is Aiden Cook? New Details On The Man Who Rushed The Stage And Took Mic Away From Kamala Harris

As we grow ever closer to the 2020 Presidential elections we're going to be hearing more stories about the candidates and likely seeing them at many more speaking engagements. It's logical, if they are running for office, they'll want to make an impression on voters and they do that in part by increasing their visibility. This can have its positives and negatives. 

One of the biggest concerns for candidates is staying safe with all this increased visibility. That's why it must have been so jarring for Kamala Harris to take to the stage in San Francisco only to find herself being rushed by a strange man she'd never seen before. His name was Aiden Cook, and this is his story. Who is Aiden Cook?

1. Bum Rush 

When people arrived at MoveOn's Big Ideas Forum in San Francisco, they came eager to hear politicians of the day speak about important issues. Presidential candidate Kamala Harris was a highly anticipated participant at the forum, and when she finally took to the stage people couldn't wait to hear what she said to say at this, one of the first big rallies on the road to 2020. Unfortunately, anything that the would-be President had to say, however, was almost immediately drowned out when a white man with a long beard rushed onto the stage and took her microphone. This man was Aiden Cook, an animal rights activist who believed that he had a big message to get across. Sadly (for him), it went unheard as he was booed by the crowd and taken offstage by the police. 

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2. It Was Planned 

While events like Cook's, running onstage, derailing an event in progress and likely frightening the women on the stage with his unapproved actions, might seem like something that happened spontaneously, that is far from being in the case. Not only did Aiden plan this stage rush on Harris, but he wasn't alone in doing it either, he had help. Cook's support came from the group Direct Action Everywhere, who wrote in a press release that they staged the event to draw attention to the cruelties of factory farming. Cook added his own piece, saying that for him the protest was also meant to bring attention to the plight of six activists who were arrested after stealing chickens from a farm.

3. Taking Care 

According to Cook himself, he in no way wanted to scare the women on the stage, nor did he at any point think about harming anyone. The reason he took the stage during Harris' segment wasn't because she was a presidential hopeful, the group selected Harris as the target for this protest because of her role as a Senator in the state of California where the poultry bandits were apprehended. Cook says that he wanted to show respect for everyone on that stage. To try and reassure Harris he did his best to keep his hands up and visible so that they could see that he was unarmed. Before he was dragged away he managed to get the following words out to Harris: “I’m really sorry to be doing this, I just have to ask you an important question."

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4. Bernie Bro? 

No, he ain't a Bernie bro. In fact, the guy's first public protest (at least the very first one to make headlines of any sort) took place during a public appearance where Bernie was speaking. In 2016, the then 21-year-old was part of another animal rights group that sought to disrupt Sanders' event and bring attention to the plight of the animals. In a post on Facebook, Cook looked back on this arrest fondly and spoke of hoping to go even bigger the next time he protested. “This day three years ago kicked off a new chapter of my life. Protesting Berne Sanders from the left was the biggest thing that happened at the ALC that year. With everything kicking off right now, it feels like the next chapter, and I can’t help but wonder how we’ll outdo ourselves this year.”

5. Bok Bok 

Cook has been a consistent advocate for the rights of animals, and it looks like he's got a fondness in particular for chickens. Which is insane. Allow me to editorialize as a person who has farmed: chickens are stupid, gross, and mean. ANYWAY, the year after he was arrested for interrupting Bernie, Cook was at it again, this time being arrested under suspicion of chicken theft. According to Cook, they specifically targeted a humane, educational farm. “We seek out places that are selling what we call the ‘humane myth’ or ‘humane lie,'” he said. “It’s this idea that if you treat them the right way then there is an ethical way to exploit and kill animals. … We want to show that no matter how well you treat someone during their life, that doesn’t give you the right to kill them.”

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr