Dolores Huerta, a civil rights leader and Hillary Clinton supporter, told CNN that when she tried to help translate at a casino caucus site Saturday, organizers from Bernie Sanders’ campaign began shouting “English only.”
CNN caught up with Huerta after Clinton’s victory party.
“What happened is the person who was running the caucus said we need a translator and he said the first person that comes to the stage can be the translator, so I walked up to the front and then some of the organizers, the Bernie organizers, decided to shout ‘no, no, no.’ Then a Bernie person stood up and said, I can also do translation. So then the person running the caucus said we won’t have a translator.”
She added, “Then some of the organizers were shouting ‘English only, English only.’ This is bad.”
When asked about the incident, Sanders campaign press secretary Symone Sanders said the campaign was about “bringing people together.”
“As the senator has said, this campaign is about bringing people together not dividing them,” she said. “We expect our supporters to be respectful of all people and don’t condone anything otherwise.”
A 22-second video of the incident was posted on YouTube on Saturday. At the beginning of the clip, three people are seen at a table on a stage while crosstalk is heard from the audience.
“Pero necesitamos español” — But we need Spanish, a woman in the crowd says, apparently referring to translation. Amid apparent objections from some members of the audience, a man with a microphone says: “Hold on. Hold on. Hold on, everybody.”
“Es Dolores Huerta” — It’s Dolores Huerta, the woman says. “My goodness.”
Huerta said the chanting made her feel “bad” because she and other civil rights leaders “have fought for many decades so we that we can have bilingual translations and to have people’s rights respected.”
“It is kind of (a) crash-and-burn strategy,” she added about the Sanders organizers. “It is like if we can’t have it our way, we shouldn’t have it all and they weren’t respecting the rights of those workers.”
The chants went viral on Saturday after actress America Ferrera, another Clinton supporter, tweeted about them.
Later, actors Susan Sarandon and Gaby Hoffman — who both said they were at the caucus — disputed the account.
“@AmericaFerrera I was there. Nobody frm Bernie’s side said English only. Moderator did when no neutral translator was found,” Sarandon tweeted.
Chimed in Hoffman: “I was also there. No one shouted English only except the moderator. I was very tuned into this.”
Sarandon later tweeted out a link to the full video, emphasizing there was “no chanting” and encouraging people to watch the incident themselves.
Clinton defeated Sanders in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.
KTLA’s John A. Moreno and Tracy Bloom contributed to this report.