Civil Rights Legend Says Sanders Supporters Yelled 'English Only' At Her

Watch the video for yourself.

02/20/2016 06:46 pm ET | Updated Feb 22, 2016
  • Elise Foley Immigration & Politics Reporter, The Huffington Post
Paul Sakuma/Associated Press
Dolores Huerta, a Latino and civil rights leader, joins hands with Hillary Clinton during a rally in 2008. Huerta is supporting Clinton again in 2016.

Dolores Huerta, a civil rights leader who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, said Saturday that Bernie Sanders supporters shouted her down when she tried to offer Spanish-language translations at a Las Vegas caucus location -- including by chanting "English-only" -- ahead of Clinton's win in the Nevada Democratic caucuses.

"Shouting 'English-only' -- that is completely against the spirit of everything that we're working for," Huerta told The Huffington Post in a phone interview.

Actress America Ferrera, also there to support Clinton, tweeted about the incident, which they said took place at a caucus location in Harrah's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

Many of the caucus-goers were workers who spoke only Spanish, so she volunteered to do translation, Huerta said. But she said some Sanders supporters began to yell "No, no, no" and "English only," and in the end, they went without translation entirely.

"To deprive these voters at this crucial time of having a translation of what was going on -- this is something they need to know what's taking place," she said. "The caucus is a kind of complicated procedure. So the Bernie supporters would rather them not have any sort of translation rather than have someone like myself, who just happened to be a Hillary supporter, do the translation."

Had she translated something inaccurately, Huerta said, there were Spanish-speaking Sanders supporters who would have corrected her. 

MoveOn.org, which endorsed Sanders, replied to Ferrera and Huerta on Twitter to say it would be "totally unacceptable" if such reports were true.

The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Huerta has been highly critical of Sanders, particularly over immigration and his past vote against comprehensive immigration reform in 2007.

A number of people have disputed Huerta's story. A video of the event (starting around the 54-minute mark) shows the moderator asking if anyone speaks Spanish. When Huerta stands up, it's difficult to make out what everyone is saying, other than "No, no." The man asks the audience to stop shouting and says other Spanish speakers can point out if Huerta said anything pro-Clinton, but yelling continues, including "absolutely not." 

"We're going forward in English only," the man says, adding that people should translate to those sitting around them if needed.

Susan Sarandon, an actress supporting Sanders, tweeted that she was also present at the event and none of his supporters had yelled "English only."

UPDATE: This article has been updated to include video and note the disputed nature of the event.

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