Susan Sarandon is under fire over meme that calls mourning NYPD officers ‘fascists’

A closeup headshot of a smiling woman wearing red lipstick.
Susan Sarandon sparked an online backlash after tweeting out a meme mocking police who attended an officer’s funeral.
(Greg Allen / Invision/Associated Press)

Susan Sarandon seems to have upset both sides of the political aisle by tweeting a meme criticizing police attendance at the funeral last Friday of slain officer Jason Rivera.

“So, if all these cops weren’t needed for CRIME that day, doesn’t that mean they aren’t needed ANY day?” the meme read.

Those words were written above a tweet from independent “anti-imperialist” journalist Danny Haiphong that had been embedded over a background of flames.


Haiphong posted a photo of thousands of NYPD officers in formal uniform showing their respect for Rivera and his loved ones outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. “I’m gonna tell my kids this is what fascism looks like,” he wrote.

New York City police officers have given a final salute to a rookie colleague gunned down with his partner a week ago.

Jan. 28, 2022

Sarandon, who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders for president in the 2020 election and backs the “Defund the Police” movement, tweeted the meme Tuesday without additional comment. A couple of days later, the criticism was flying in from all directions.

“This is what privilege looks like: a wealthy actress, safe in her bubble, mocking heroes & making light of the crisis that cops are battling alongside our communities,” the Police Benevolent Assn. of the City of New York tweeted Thursday. “NYC is uniting to stop the violence — @SusanSarandon is living on a different planet.”

“God forbid one of my brothers dies in the line of duty and I have to see this f— insensitive tweet on the day of his funeral from a privileged f— of a person,” actor Kirk Acevedo wrote.

“Dear Republicans -- Susan Sarandon is not ours. She hasn’t voted for a Democrat in a long time,” CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart wrote. “Maybe she’s one of those false flag operations you guys are whispering about all the time.”


“All Decent People on The Left: ‘We’re not with Susan Sarandon,’” author and #TheResistance supporter John Pavlovitz tweeted.

“Susan Sarandon has the unique ability to have Democrats and Republicans despise her,” conservative pundit Carmine Sabia tweeted. “Let me help you Susan. You see these officers who died they are actually brave whereas you pretend to be people who are brave in the movies. Not the same.”

“Congratulations, Susan Sarandon! You’re now the poster child of an angry, woke, liberal, pro-criminal, anti-law and order jerk,” tweeted Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), who is a gubernatorial candidate in his state. “There are other more fitting titles, but it only gets more vulgar from here.”

The police officer who was shot to death while responding to a call in Harlem once wrote he joined the force to make a difference in the “chaotic city.”

Jan. 22, 2022

“Big mouth celebrities like @SusanSarandon feel emboldened to trash & demean police because they have the luxury of private security & gated communities,” Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren wrote. “I imagine if you turn Susan out on the streets of any major democrat run city, she would be squealing for the closest officer!”

“The left does NOT claim Susan Sarandon,” actress Angela Belcamino tweeted. “Repeat, the left does NOT claim Susan Sarandon. Who agrees?”

Officer Rivera, 22, was killed and his partner, Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was shot Jan. 21 by Lashawn J. McNeil, 47, after responding to a report of a domestic dispute in Harlem. McNeil — who was shot by a rookie shadowing the officers — died Jan. 24, and Mora was taken off life support the next day.

Mora’s funeral was held Wednesday, also at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and was attended by thousands of officers.

Thousands of uniformed police stand in the street outside New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.
(Angela Weiss / AFP/Getty Images)

Also Wednesday, a funeral was held at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills for slain LAPD Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, who was shot dead in January while he was off duty and house-hunting with his girlfriend in South L.A.

Hundreds attended. Others had watched a procession of black-and-white police cars and officers on horseback head toward the cemetery along with a riderless horse with empty boots facing backward in the stirrups, signifying a fallen officer.

According to New York City, the NYPD employs about 36,000 officers. In comparison, the Los Angeles Police Dept. has around 9,500, while the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. has around 18,000. There are 88 incorporated cities in Los Angeles County, many of which have their own police forces or contract with LASD.