LeVar Burton Lambastes Nikki Haley Over Her Confederate Flag Comments

LeVar Burton - GETTY - H 2017
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The former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. said the flag stood for "service and sacrifice and heritage" before a gunman "hijacked" it during his 2015 rampage.

LeVar Burton on Saturday gave Nikki Haley an earful for comments that the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. made about the Confederate flag. 

Earlier in the week, while a guest on Glenn Beck's Blaze TV, Haley said that South Carolinians equated the Confederate flag with "service and sacrifice and heritage" before the Charleston church shooter "hijacked" it during his 2015 rampage that left nine dead and three injured. Haley, the governor at the time, proceeded to blame the media for turning the flag into a hateful, racist emblem with their coverage of the massacre.

Her comments were met with severe backlash on social media, which continued Saturday morning with Burton laying into Haley on Twitter. 

"Dear @NikkiHaley, The Flag of the Confederacy is by it’s [sic] own definition a symbol of racism, the notion of white supremacy itself and a desire to continue to differentiate based on color, when considering the rights and privileges of Americans. #bydhttmwfi (But You Don't Have To Take My Word For It)," he began on his account, which has nearly 2 million followers.   

The actor, best known starring in Roots, Star Trek and hosting Reading Rainbow, then highlighted parts of the Confederate States Constitution to prove his point. 

"If you will pay close attention to Article I Section 9(1), Article I Section 9(2), Article I Section 9(4) and please don’t forget Article IV Section 2(1) and Article IV Section 3(3). These are most illuminating in the service of determining the intentions of the Confederacy," Burton wrote. "Whatever rationale you use to protest that Confederate flag has come to represent pride in 'service, sacrifice and heritage' will never alter the facts of the matter. The service, sacrifice and heritage you speak of dedicated itself to protecting and preserving SLAVERY!"

He concluded, "Like the burning cross, the Confederate flag was, is and will always be a symbolic representation of the cruelty, born from bigotry and greed, that were the foundation of chattel slavery and its attendant legacy of racism in America."

Since her comments on Beck's show, Haley took to social media in an effort to defend herself, pointing to a previous New York Times transcript detailing her 2015 decision to remove the flag from the state Capitol building. 

"2015 was a painful time for our state. The pain was and is still real. Below was my call for the removal of the Confederate flag & I stand by it. I continue to be proud of the people of SC and how we turned the hate of a killer into the love for each other," she said in her post that shared the Times' transcript.