Stephanie Pratt is facing blacklash for her response to the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. As demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality broke out across the country over the weekend, some turning violent and resulting in stores being looted, The Hills star called for those protesters looting to be shot.
Shoot the looters - using this tragedy as their excuse to rob and burn all of our towns down.— Stephanie Pratt (@stephaniepratt) June 1, 2020
Pratt's suggestion of using violence was immediately slammed online, with one person dubbing her a "f—ing racist hypocrite" given her own past run-in with the law. In May of 2006, when she was 20, Pratt and a friend were arrested after they had shoplifted more than $1,300 worth of clothing from a Neiman Marcus in Hawaii. They were charged with second-degree theft and taken to police headquarters. According to Just Jared, Pratt said she was on prescription drugs at the time. She was charged with "promoting a dangerous drug" in the third degree, and "promoting a harmful drug" in the third and fourth degree after police found drugs in her bag. She was released on $5,000 bail and sentenced to three years of probation.
Others, criticizing Pratt for "inciting more violence," asked if she had "not learned anything from your commander and chief's tweets." As many pointed out, the reality star's tweet mirrored the language used by President Donald Trump on Friday as some protests turned violent. In a statement that was flagged by Twitter, the president said that the military is with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz "all the way" and that "any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
The phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" dates back to 1967 when Miami Police Chief Walter Healey used it during hearings on crime in the city. Headley was Miami's chief for two decades and said his strict policy on crime was a war against "young hoodlums, from 15 to 21, who have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign" and said he did not mind being criticized for "police brutality.” Although Trump has said he was unaware of this particular usage of the phrase, Twitter flagged his tweet due to its "glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence and the risk it could inspire similar actions today."
Pratt later subtly responded to the outrage. In a tweet, she said that "there's some confusion between the words looter & protester on the news," explaining that "the protesters are trying to make changes & end decades-long police violence" while the looters, meanwhile, "are a–holes."