Michelle Obama didn’t have much patience for a heckler at a private Democratic National Committee fundraising event Tuesday, as the First Lady stared down the rowdy audience member and threatened to leave if the outburst continued.
The heckler was Ellen Sturtz, a woman who wants the president to sign an executive order banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. She started yelling at about 12 minutes into Michelle Obama’s 20-minute speech.
According to a report from The Huffington Post, Michelle Obama stopped her speech and said, into the mic: “One of the things that I don’t do well is this.”
The crowed cheered and reports say Michelle Obama left the stage to speak more privately with Sturtz.
“Listen to me, or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving,” Michelle Obama reportedly told the protester. “You all decide. You have one choice.”
Sturtz was escorted out, yelling “federal equality before I die!”
Huffington Post politics reporter Amanda Terkel tracked down Sturtz, who told her that she was a lesbian and hadn’t planned to interrupt the First Lady: “I want to talk about the children,” Sturtz told the HuffPo. “I want to talk about the LGBT young people who are … being told, directly and indirectly, that they’re second-class citizens. I’m tired of it. They’re suffering. … We’ve been asking president to sign that ENDA executive order for five years. How much longer do we need to wait?”
The Washington Post also tracked down Sturtz, who said she was surprised at Michelle Obama’s reaction. “She came right down in my face,” Sturtz told The Washington Post. “I was taken aback.”
The Washington Post reports that Sturtz paid $500 to get into the event in order to protest for the advocacy group GetEqual, which has heckled President Barack Obama in the past.
Politico has a somewhat garbled audio recording of the exchange, which mostly picked up cheering as Michelle Obama told the woman to quiet down or leave.