George Takei and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell on The Last Word


George Takei and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell were the interview on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night. (Video below the fold).

Last week, George Takei threatened to boycott Arizona:

Actor and gay rights activist George Takei warned Arizona to expect a boycott campaign if the controversial so-called “turn away the gay” bill becomes law.

In an open letter to residents beginning with “Dear Arizona,” the Star Trek actor sarcastically congratulated them for becoming the “first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individual’s ‘sincerely held religious belief.’”

“This ‘turn away the gay’ bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us,” Takei wrote.

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“The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon,” said Takei. “But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this.” He added, “They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear.”

Takei described his deep ties to the state; his husband Brad was born in Phoenix and the pair spends three weeks in Arizona every year on vacation to visit family and friends. But, Takei vowed to spend his time and tourist dollars elsewhere if this law gets the greenlight.

“If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.”

Read the full text of Takei’s letter.

For his part, House Minority Leader Chad Campbell asked Takei to work with him to help change the Arizona Legislature. Monday, February 24 Transcript:

And I do want to say to George`s call for boycott, though, there are millions of Arizonans that oppose this bill. The business community has come out against it. We have a wide range of people that are opposing this bill. So don`t hold us all to the same standard, George, I beg you, for that. And don`t think that we all are not open to everybody coming to our state and spending money here and living here and enjoying themselves here and raising a family here.

And you know, really I would make the offer to George, come out here and let`s work together and change this state this year. It is an election year. We can elect better people to the legislature because you`re right, we have an extremist element that`s taken over the legislature. And let`s get them out. And I`m committed to working with you, working with anybody across the country to make that happen in Arizona.

TAKEI: We`re absolutely with you. We love Arizona. As I said, we know many, many, many people. And Brad`s got relatives in Arizona. So yes, we`d be happy to work with you to get rid of these — that state senator [Sen. Steve Pierce] who claimed that they had no idea that it was involving bigotry.

How do people like that get elected in that office? We`ve got to correct the process by which they get into office. He doesn`t belong in public office.

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TAKEI: [The boycott threat] was in the heat of the moment, and it is a tactic, a strategy to persuade Governor Brewer to reject — veto that bill. We do mean it. I mean, if she signs it, then we will withhold our economic and other support. But we will be there supporting Senator Rep. Campbell`s effort to restructure the legislature.

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