Margaret Atwood famously, apocryphally, said, "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." This quote is being played out all too literally, because a woman now faces up to one year in jail for the “crime” of laughing at Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

According to the New York Times, three members of activist group Code Pink were convicted yesterday “on charges related to a protest at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general.” The court filing for the office of the US attorney for the District of Columbia says that the three activists attempted to “impede and disrupt” the hearing. One Code Pink activist, Desiree A. Fairooz, 61, says all she did was laugh at Sessions.


All three activists were found guilty, and all three face up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. They will be sentenced on June 21.

The two other activists, Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, dressed up as KKK members for Sessions’ hearing, as a way to point out his racist past.

Fairooz, who was dressed as a pink Statue of Liberty at the hearing, says all she did was laugh when Senator Richard Shelby said that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”

Fairooz told the New York Times, “I just couldn’t hold it. It was spontaneous. It was an immediate rejection of what I considered an outright lie or pure ignorance.”

The US attorney’s office says her “loud burst of laughter” prompted police to approach her, at which point she “grew loud and more disruptive, eventually halting the confirmation hearing.” Code Pink campaign director Ariel Gold told NBC that Fairooz’s laugh was a “reflex” at the “absurdity” of the statement and that her laugh was “quieter than a cough."

Fairooz was found guilty of disorderly and disruptive conduct and of parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds.

Despite her conviction, Fairooz says she will continue to protest Trump and his administration: “I’m so disgusted with so many different aspects of our current government.”

Top photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Erika W. Smith is BUST's digital editorial director. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @erikawynn and email her at