Harry Belafonte Suggests that the President’s Opposition Should be Locked Up

“The only thing left for Barack Obama to do is to work like a 3rd world dictator and just put all these guys in jail.” – Harry Belafonte

This was said by Mr. Belafonte on MSNBC, and it was off the cuff. But the panel just laughed in agreement.

This is not a good thing.

People on all sides of American politics say ridiculous things. However, the casualness with which Belafonte’s words were taken, indeed the acceptance of the statement by Al Sharpton (who just recently met with the president) is of major concern. This is not something to joke about. We are talking about political imprisonment for speech.

Had Al Sharpton even just said something like “Well, I don’t think locking people up because of their political beliefs is a good thing.” Hell, had Sharpton just not laughed—I wouldn’t have cared so much.

But nothing was said and he did laugh.

Belafonte might as well have said that we should string up the running dogs of capitalism ala Mao.

And interestingly, he uses the words “lingering infestation” to characterise those who disagree with the president. Presumably, Belafonte is referring the 49% of the voters, and the 60%+ of voting age Americans who did not vote for Obama. Where have I heard this kind of talk before? Gee, think back. Where, where, where?

I do not count myself as an “opponent” of the president. To the degree that Mr. Obama embraces cronyism and special deals for the connected I will take him to task. But I am not an “opponent.” I oppose crony capitalism wherever it is—Republican, Democrat, or other—and it happens all over. But I wonder if I would be free of the gulag in Mr. Belafonte’s ideal world? Would Dennis Kusinich and Ralph Nader be shipped off too for their critisism of the president? Maybe.

That this statement was voiced and accepted on a news outlet that is deeply influenced by Media Matters, (a technically non-profit organization which has extraordinary access to the president) is a very bad thing for all those who value free expression and the 1st Amendment. Be one liberal, conservative, libertarian, or something else—free speech must be treasured. There is a reason why the freedom to speak one’s mind is first in the Bill of Rights.

And, Mr. Belafonte has every right to say the president should lock up his opponents. But I have every right to say that such a statement is against the very spirit of our country. And, that is the kind version of what I would say.

You have every right to say what you think, too. Al Sharpton loves Twitter. His handle is @TheRevAl . Belafonte’s is @harrybelafonte .


"Tucker Carlson To Bill O’Reilly: Media Matters ‘Basically Writes’ MSNBC Primetime." Mediaite.com, 2012-2-13.

Nick Sorrentino

About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant whose clients have spanned the political spectrum, his work has been featured at Chief Executive MagazineBreitbartReason.com, NPR.com, Townhall, The Daily Caller, and many other publications. He has spoken at CPAC, The Commit Forum, The Atlas Summit, The US Chamber of Commerce, The National Press Club, and at other venues. Sorrentino is the CEO of Exelorix Consultants and a senior fellow at Future 500. A graduate of Mary Washington College he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

JamesCrooke 5pts

how about they stole the election you frigging idiot.

Peter McGuire
Peter McGuire 5pts

Poor Harry never met a communist he didn't love.

Paul Wolff
Paul Wolff 5pts

In many ways its true, but in reality, it would never happen, and everyone knows that, so don't get your panties in a bunch. Though if it is found that Rove actually did manipulate voting, then maybe partially true...

Curtis Owens
Curtis Owens 5pts

most politicians need to be locked up for abusing the people they are supposed to be helping.

Joe Boring
Joe Boring 5pts

Okay, well, I think Obama SUPPORTERS deserve the same. So THERE. Opinions are like certain parts of our 'natomy: everybody has them. Now, get lawful impetus, and we have more than just whim. Get someone with authority to determine cause to proceed with legal action, and you've got a case. Otherwise, hear the guy out, if you have the time and patience and a reason to; otherwise, let 'em blab. If they get pushy, respond LAWFULLY. Let the cow have enough rope and it'll hang itself.

Jeff Vallis
Jeff Vallis 5pts

A typical progressive in a rare moment of complete honesty.

Joey Arthur
Joey Arthur 5pts

Harry had one hit record and now he's an expert...nope. Just another bloated and inflamed dirt-bagger lib screaming to be noticed.

Mark Lietzow
Mark Lietzow 5pts

Harry Belefonte is and has been a rascist psycho for years

Mark G. Tunney
Mark G. Tunney 5pts

The Mayo Clinic called Harry. They want their Alzheimer's back.

Carol Rea
Carol Rea 5pts

good picture of a couple of nuts...

John Davis
John Davis 5pts

The pitiful ideas of a BONE-HEAD..

Susan Haigwood
Susan Haigwood 5pts

There's something? mighty wrong about an American??? President that is supported by Chavez - a (nother) communist leader.

Ron Patterson
Ron Patterson 5pts

Harry love your singing still have the 1962 album at Carnegie hall , but don't stand next to Hugo Chaves and talk about locking up anyone . It detracts from a long and varied carer with many accolades, all well earned but you should leave politics to the masters like labor unions.

Dan Kern
Dan Kern 5pts

Maybe Harry should be locked up in an insane asylum. This guy's a real nut case.

Nate Myers
Nate Myers 5pts

Is he a long-lost Castro brother?

Nick Lucko
Nick Lucko 5pts

Of course he does. He has a grudge against all of the racists who did him wrong all his life and since he doesn't have the power to do it for himself, he wants to vicariously do it through his savior - the anointed turd. Oh! BTW Harry, baby. How much of your fortune are you VOLUNTARILY giving to your savior?

David Hobgood
David Hobgood 5pts

Let's chain these guys to their beds, they are getting more and more delusional.

Pauline LeForce Issen
Pauline LeForce Issen 5pts

I say, Harry Belefonte, is an absolute SENILE - RACIST - over they hill CRONY himself. Where, pray God, does he think he would be, IF PEOPLE HAD NOT BOUGHT HIS SILLY MUSIC/RECORDS? jST SAYIN

Danny Jackson
Danny Jackson 5pts

he just needs to put the lime in the coconut and shut the hell up!!

Mary Cannon
Mary Cannon 5pts

CORRECTION: Another enemy of CHRIST!!!

Mark Carpenter
Mark Carpenter 5pts

Why is this goon still breathing air. He is old, stupid, and lame. The trifecta of idiocy

Wade Christian Holle
Wade Christian Holle 5pts

Ah Mr. Belefonte, what a telling suggestion. It almost seems reasonable, after all habeas corpus has been suspended so why not?

Tommy Powell
Tommy Powell 5pts

Belafonte is a feeble old man who has forgotten what country made him who he was. Now, he's just a libitard who belongs in a mental ward!

Tim Sheryl
Tim Sheryl 5pts

Hmmm. Mr. Belafonte sounds like a domestic enemy of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically the 1st Amendment. If he supports imprisoning those who disagree with Obama then I would support defending the Constitution against ALL its enemies by ANY means. And he is obviously one of them.

C.d. Morran
C.d. Morran 5pts

Nah, should be the other way around there Harry Belaflunky with Oblome and company peeking from behind bars. Feel welcome to join them faschist, you and your hero Hugo, providing the prick don't die from cancer first. BTW, take that ass hole Penn with you.

Trudy Miller
Trudy Miller 5pts

The tactics of divide and conquer. All the hollywood nothings need locked up and made to pay their taxes. They are all a bunch of cheaters, morally corrupt and easily purchased.

C Steven Rutherford
C Steven Rutherford 5pts

Hell, Belafonte was one of the first antagonists sent into the USA to just stir trouble via the liberal entertainment arena.

Loretta Koons
Loretta Koons 5pts

Why don't the idiots just get out of here!!!!!!! Gee that's great a little lonely; but a lot less B.S. to shovel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Loretta Koons
Loretta Koons 5pts

He means as we do with juries until they do their jobs dipstick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brenda Scrogham
Brenda Scrogham 5pts

Gee, maybe Harry Zombafonte should remember THIS is AMERICA..NOT Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea... If he wants to live in a country that is dictated buy despotic thugs MAYBE he ought to move to one of THOSE countries instead?...Just a thought...And take "Matilda" with ya while your at it 'K Harry? ("Everybody!")