Topless Bernie Sanders supporters arrested outside L.A. rally

Applause for Bernie Sanders at the Wiltern Theatre on March 23.

Applause for Bernie Sanders at the Wiltern Theatre on March 23.

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Some people are baring their tops, if not their souls, for the Bern.

Outside Sen. Bernie Sanders’ rally Wednesday evening in Los Angeles, two women were arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure, police said.

The two women, both ages 20 to 25, had “disrobed” outside the Wiltern Theatre, revealing a slogan scrawled on their bodies: “Feel the Bern,” said LAPD Officer Mike Lopez.


The three-word statement has become shorthand for the fervent adulation toward the 74-year-old Democratic senator from Vermont.

Police were concerned that the women’s breasts were on view outside the packed theater, located in Koreatown at Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.

“We asked them to put their clothes on and they refused,” Lopez said.

Both women were expected to be booked on a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure. Their names were not given. If the women provide the proper identification, they will probably be cited and released, Lopez said.

It’s not the first time a partly unclothed Sanders supporter caused a stir.

At an Arizona rally last weekend, a Los Angeles woman interrupted Sanders’ speech with “Stop Fascism” etched on her back, the Washington Post reported. She had “Free the Nipple” stickers on her body, referring to the movement advocating for the right of women to be topless in public.

It’s unclear if the women arrested by the LAPD were connected with the Free the Nipple movement. As the women were arrested, shouts could be heard including, “My body, my choice” and “Free the nipple,” according to video of the incident obtained by KABC-TV Channel 7.

Earlier in the day, Sanders told the Los Angeles Times during a meeting with the editorial board that he would be making several visits to the Golden State.

“You’re going to see me here more than you feel comfortable with,” Sanders said about his strategy for winning the state’s June 7 primary. “We think we have a path to victory and that path absolutely has to come through California.”

At his rally inside the Wiltern Theatre, Sanders said that his campaign sought to encourage Americans to “think outside the box.”

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.


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