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Democrats face scrutiny after Farrakhan's controversial remarks

Louis Farrakhan speaking at the Watergate hotel.
Louis Farrakhan delivering a message at the Watergate hotel. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Louis Farrakhan, the controversial head of the Nation of Islam, has returned to the headlines over the last few weeks — with much of the focus coming from conservative media outlets highlighting Democrats' connections to him. The most recent furor began after Farrakhan spoke at the Nation of Islam's Saviours' Day event on Feb. 25 and pontificated anti-Semitic views to his audience.

What he said: Farrakhan said "the powerful Jews are my enemy" during his Saviours' Day speech. Later, he also stated that "Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.”

The backstory: Farrakhan, leader of the National of Islam since 1970, has long been a controversial political figure. He has promoted views advocating African-American self-sustenance and religion while calling for a separation from white America's structures. In his closest brush with mainstream politics, he spearheaded the 1995 Million Man March on Washington, D.C.

Flashback: This isn't the first time Farrakhan has said inflammatory things:

The flashpoint: Tamika Mallory, co-president of the Women's March, is under fire for her appearance at the same Saviours' Day event, which saw Farrakhan call attention to her and her activist work. Supporters have been calling for Mallory to denounce Farrakhan, but she hasn't done so directly. However, she did address the controversy in a Twitter thread last week, though she never mentioned Farrakhan by name.

However, the Women's March organization did release a more direct statement, stating that Farrakhan's "statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women's March Unity Principles":

What they're saying: Conservative outlets, led by The Daily Caller and Fox News, have called on progressive leaders to condemn Farrakhan and his rhetoric. They argue that had a figure popular in conservative circles made similar incendiary remarks, progressive leaders would be calling for them to be held accountable.

This isn't new: Associating with Farrakhan has brought other political figures from the left under scrutiny before. Some have attempted to publicly disassociate themselves from him.

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Zuckerberg admits Facebook "breach of trust"

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walks wearing a t-shirt, with trees behind him
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on what he called the "Cambridge Analytica situation" today in a Facebook post, saying there was a "a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that."

Why it matters: Facebook has been under extraordinary pressure from lawmakers, regulators and Wall Street to respond to the issue.

David McCabe 3 hours ago
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Zuckerberg's Cambridge Analytica comments fail to calm lawmakers

A sign reading "Cambridge Analytica"
The Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica is at the center of a growing scandal for Facebook. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Facebook's response to the controversy over Cambridge Analytica's illicit gathering of its user data haven't satisfied many of its critics on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: New data privacy regulations would upend Facebook's business model, so the company is looking to address lawmakers' fears this week.