The “Hello, Dolly!” entertainer tweeted about Beyoncé’s large social media platform on Thursday, noting that the “Homecoming” star has some 133 million followers on Instagram.
“More than double the people who voted for Trump,” Midler wrote. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if the #BeyHive mobilized to defeat him? I also wouldn’t mind if a regular bee hive fucked his shit up.”
Midler’s message drew ire from people on Twitter, particularly Black women, who argued that targeting Beyoncé’s fans suggested that Black women bear the burden of voting Trump out of office.
Beyoncé certainly has a diverse fan base ― and, as one Twitter user noted, many of those Instagram followers are likely not American voters. But others wrote that Midler naming Beyoncé ― who often uses her music and platform to empower other Black women ― felt misguided, given the strong history of electoral mobilization led by Black women.
Black women have already played crucial roles in recent elections.
Exit polls in the 2017 Senate special election in Alabama revealed that 98% of the Black female voters (and 93% of the Black male voters) had backed now-Sen. Doug Jones, helping to push him to victory over Roy Moore, the former judge accused of sexually assaulting teenage girls.
Only 34% of the white female voters and 26% of the white male voters supported Jones.
In the 2016 presidential election, 53% of the white women who voted chose Trump, whereas 94% of the Black women who voted chose Hillary Clinton.
“You should probably talk to the 53% of white women who voted for Trump instead of expecting black women to carry this water,” author Roxane Gay wrote in response to Midler.
Other Twitter users pointed out that Beyoncé has used her platform to urge people to vote. Just days ahead of the 2016 election, she performed at a concert and rally in Cleveland, organized by husband Jay-Z, to drum up support for Clinton.
“Look how far we’ve come from having no voice to being on the brink of making history, again, by electing the first woman president,” Beyoncé said on stage. “But we have to vote.”
Some people suggested Midler should look closer to home. “BlacKkKlansman” actor Ashlie Atkinson said, “Women who look like Beyoncé did not elect Trump. Women who look like *us* did.”
“We need to get our white ladies in line before we ask women of color to mobilize yet again to save our asses in a system where they are not nor have ever been treated equally,” Atkinson continued.
The Twitter reactions continued: