Grammy-winning singer Brandi Carlile has pulled out of Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women” event on Tuesday after learning that former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was among the featured speakers.
The singer was scheduled to perform at tomorrow’s summit in Washington D.C. But on Monday Carlile announced that she would no longer be attending after finding out that Nielsen was one of the featured speakers, arguing that the magazine should not be giving a platform to those she believes are guilty of human rights violations.
“At the end of the day I’m a mother with a ridiculous birthright and a heart for displaced people,” she wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “I’m proud to have been invited to the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in DC. Dropping out of such a special appearance is rarely my style.”
“However, I don’t think that human rights violators and merit-based abusers of displaced people should be given a platform to ‘reimagine’ history,” she continued. “The atrocity of family separation at our Southern border needs to go down in history as one of the United States of America’s most merciless acts.”
With respect and gratitude. pic.twitter.com/rhKpRYf6gF
— Brandi Carlile (@brandicarlile) October 21, 2019
The Carlile went on to declare her refusal to support Kirstjen “having a voice among the most powerful and inspiring women in America.”
Nielsen resigned as head of Homeland Security in April, after taking the brunt of the criticism for her implementation of President Donald Trump’s policies on illegal immigration.
The 47-year-old will be interviewed PBS reporter Amna Nawaz for a conversation titled, “The Hard Questions,” that will involve topics such as the “the horror of family separation [and] border security.”
Hillary Clinton was also slated to appear at the event, although she reportedly pulled out after hearing that Nielsen and 2020 presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) were set to appear.
Among those scheduled to speak at the conference include Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ.), Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), academic Anita Hill and fashion designer Tory Burch.