“I don’t know if he was there to kill me,” writes MSNBC anchor and Wake Forest University professor Melissa Harris-Perry. In an online post, Melissa recounts her frightening run-in with an unknown man inside an Iowa hotel lobby on Monday night.
Perry traveled to the state with a group of students to watch the caucus results when she says a man approached her inside the hotel. “I didn’t notice until he was standing right next to me, much closer than is ordinary or comfortable. When he started speaking it was like he was picking up in the middle of sentence, finishing a conversation we had begun earlier, but I couldn’t remember ever meeting him,” she recounts.
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 1, 2016
“I freeze. He speaks. And moves closer. Is there a knife under the coat? A gun? Worse? And I can’t hear all the words. But I catch ‘Nazi Germany’ and I catch ‘rise to power’,” she continues.
Perry says she was taken out of her fearful trance by one of her students. “Together we raise our voices and make a fuss. He turns. He runs out. He jumps in a car. He drives off. We try to explain to hotel security what has happened and how I receive hate mail and even death threats, how I have had people show up at my workplace, how this might be serious. They listen politely, but this is the Iowa caucus, and I am not a candidate, so they go back to their evening. And we go back to ours.”
“I don’t know what kind of harm he was prepared to do. Perhaps the only threat was a barrage of hateful words – or maybe he planned to do something worse. I have faced both. Both seemed plausible in this encounter.”
You can read Melissa’s entire telling of the story here.
Deep gratitude for all expressions of concern. Had common response-felt fine 1st 24 hours then shaky/ teary. Better now.
— Melissa Harris-Perry (@MHarrisPerry) February 3, 2016