A Marianne Williamson Supporter Instructed a CNN Staffer How to Knock on a Door at This Week’s Presidential Debate. Then Things Got Weird

In what is certainly one of the more confusing ‘punchlines’ to pop up on the 2020 campaign trail, a simple “knock, knock” turned into a teaching moment in Marianne Williamson‘s green room at Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate.

Journalist (and one of TIME’s Most Influential People on the Internet) Yashar Ali reported in a tweet Thursday that “one of Marianne Williamson’s guests told a CNN staffer that they weren’t knocking on her door properly” during CNN’s first night of Presidential debates. Citing two sources on-scene, Ali wrote that the guest then “proceeded to educate the staffer on the proper way to knock.”

1. Two sources familiar with the matter tell me that backstage at the CNN debate on Tuesday night, one of Marianne Williamson's guests told a CNN staffer that they weren't knocking on her door properly. They proceeded to educate the staffer on the proper way way to knock

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 1, 2019

2. There were three suggested levels of knocking, first a soft knock, then a louder knock, and finally the loudest knock. I'm told that Williamson felt the original knocking was too aggressive.

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 1, 2019

Shortly after Ali’s tweets, the actress Frances Fisher, a.k.a. Ruth Dewitt Bukater, Titanic‘s first class momager (but also known for Unforgiven, True Crime and the forthcoming Watchmen TV series, among other projects) confirmed the incident and her role therein, though challenging the “incendiary” nature of his reporting. Fisher had attended the Detroit debate to support Williamson, her longtime friend, and wanted to make sure she was in the best possible headspace before the main event.

1/ @yashar – Let me explain something to you:
I am an actress; when I am in my dressing room or trailer and the door is closed, that means I may be doing an interview, going over lines, meditating or sleeping. A loud knock reverberates and is extremely jarring.

— Frances Fisher (@Frances_Fisher) August 1, 2019

“I kindly explained to the young lady that a light tap on a closed door is something that would be greatly appreciated. Then a louder knock if no one answers,” Fisher explained in follow-up tweets. “The young lady seemed to appreciate the education.”

Fisher, once labeled a “devotee” of Williamson’s by the Washington Post, made sure to defend her candidate, whom she’s been supporting politically since a failed run for Congress in 2014.

“[Williamson] did NOT request this. It was me,” she said. Williamson’s press team did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment. Williamson, whose inner circle includes many a Hollywood mainstay, had shared an Instagram at the scene of the crime on Tuesday night.

View this post on Instagram

Frances Fisher and me in the green room. Less than two hours before the debate begins! #bignight @110couture

A post shared by Marianne Williamson (@mariannewilliamson) on

“We all have bigger issues to deal with in America,” Fisher later tweeted, asking Ali to delete his “incendiary” tweets and going to great pains to reply to other users sharing her take with clarifications.

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