Laverne Cox recently came under fire after she appeared in a video for The Sylvia Rivera Law Project. In the video, Cox read a letter from incarcerated trans woman Synthia China Blast. Blast, who is transgender, has been imprisoned in the state of New York for 21 years for the murder and rape of Ebony Williams in 1993.
In the letter read by Cox, Blast’s experiences while incarcerated are chronicled, as well as her work being a member of a Prison Advisory Committee (PAC) PAC is a “way to overcome the enormous state-created barriers to communication and political participation for the people who are most affected by the prison system.”
Cox’s backlash came after people assumed she was defending a rapist and murder, but she took to her Tumblr to explain:
When I agreed to participate in a recent Sylvia Rivera Law Project campaign, which involved me reading a letter from a member of their Prisoner Advisory Committee, I was not aware of the charges for which she was convicted. If I had been aware of those charges, I would have never agreed to read the letter.
To everyone who has been a supporter of me and my work, as well as for those who have found inspiration in my story, it is important for me to let you know that I have never, nor would I ever, support abuse or violence against anyone, especially a child like Ebony Nicole Williams. This is something I unequivocally do not support.
My intention was to highlight the horrific conditions many trans people experience during incarceration — to shed a light where often there is only darkness.
Cox has sense asked the organization to remove the video from their site. Even with the apology, we all know some people still won’t accept it, because of their own biases against transgender people.