Reporter secretly passed note during Moms for Liberty interview: ‘This is a hate group’

A member of Moms for Liberty rests her knuckles on the tops of a stack of books.

A CNN journalist was handed a note during a live broadcast that called the anti-LGBTQ+ organisation Moms for Liberty a “hate group”.

American CNN correspondent Elle Reeve revealed during a Thursday (18 May) edition of Anderson Cooper 360 that, while she was speaking to members of the far-right parent group and a collection of other parents who do not share their views, she was handed a note that read: “We have the other side of this story. This is a hate group.”

Moms for Liberty is notorious in US educational circles for advocating against what it deems to be ‘woke’ or otherwise progressive curriculum in schools – typically referring to LGBTQ+ rights or critical race theory.

The group, which is believed to have hundreds of chapters across America, has also advocated against mask and vaccine mandates while supporting deeply anti-LGBTQ+ Republican politicians such as Ron DeSantis.

Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of Moms for Liberty and the wife of Republican Party Florida chairman Christian Ziegler, was appointed to the board overseeing Disney’s district in the state.

Moms for Liberty’s Florida chapters worked with DeSantis to push his repressive ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation, which bans the mention of LGBTQ+ topics in all grades across the state’s public schools.

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During Reeve’s report, she spoke to Moms for Liberty El Paso chair Darcy Schoening, along with other members of the group, who made several baseless remarks about schools needing to go back to being “educational and not political.”

There is no evidence to suggest that US school children are being ‘pressured’ into becoming trans or queer.

“If you ask my children, who are seven and eight, ‘What are your pronouns?’ They don’t even know what that is,” Schoening said.

“When you ask that, you’re planting the seed in their minds that they maybe should identify as another gender or that identifying as another gender is hip or cool.”

Following the meeting, Reeve was handed the note by one of the “more liberal parents” she interviewed. A speech pathologist, Naomi Lopez, who Reeve spoke to, said Moms for Liberty’s various anti-LGBTQ+ actions were for the “sake of persecution.”

Lopez, who has a transgender child, said: “My personal viewpoint on the world does not come into the classroom.

“We are professionals with degrees in pedagogy … I get emotional when other people who don’t have children who are transgender or queer place an assumption on it for the sake of persecution, based on their own belief.”

Over the course of its campaign against books it deems ‘woke’, the group has advocated for removing books such as Forever by Judy Blume, This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, and many, many more.

Moms for Liberty received considerable backlash after members of the Indian River County chapter attempted to ban the book Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, by Ari Folman.

Regional chair Jennifer Pippin argued during an attempt to justify the book’s removal that teachers should teach the “true history” of the Holocaust and Anne Frank’s diary, but that it contained a “graphic scene”.

In response, the group received several emails condemning them, with one saying: “Don’t be a Nazi. They never win.”

During the CNN interview, Schoening argued: “We’re not looking to ban books, we’re not looking to burn books, we just need to get back to a system where parents get to know what their kids are learning.”