In an effort to take a stand against Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, Amber Heard tweeted a message that many followers have called out as racist.
Early Tuesday morning, Heard posted about an ICE checkpoint near her L.A. home, writing, “Just heard there’s an ICE checkpoint in Hollywood, a few blocks from where I live. Everyone better give their housekeepers, nannies and landscapers a ride home tonight…” The tweet has since been deleted.
The issue? The message played into the stereotype that service-workers, such as housekeepers, nannies, and landscapers, would need to worry about an ICE checkpoint because of their legal status, reinforcing the idea that all or most people who hold such jobs arrived in the country illegally. Some followers also accused the actress of relegating all immigrants to the roles of "the help."
She continued, “Checkpoints on your home streets…. Is this the ‘great’ America we’re aiming for? Raids, fences and police-state like checkpoints don’t feel like the ‘land of the free’ our immigrant ancestors built.”
Heard's message may have been sent with the best intentions—to warn people near and dear to her friends and neighbors that they may be in danger—but her delivery got in the way. Followers swiftly called on her to reconsider her comments. They explained that even if she meant the message to come across as a tad satirical—meaning to drag her neighbors for living lives of excess with hired help—the post ultimately comes across as racist and aloof.
Following the backlash, Heard took down the original tweet and posted a new message lamenting that "it is hard to make a simple statement w/out it being used to distract from the real issues."
Though her original message was muddled on Twitter, Heard's recent political activism points to just a poor choice of words this time. On Instagram, the 32-year-old has highlighted a variety of organization working to further women’s reproductive rights, plus the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council. She also recently headed to Texas to protest President Trump’s immigration policy, and promoted the Families Belong Together rallies against it.
Judging by Heard's recent posts, it's easier to give her the benefit of the doubt. But still, it served as another reminder to think before you tweet.