Things That Matter

Here’s What Is So Disturbing About Seeing Conservative White Men Pretending To Assault And Choke AOC’s Cutout Picture

Since Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez began her career as a politician, Republicans have picked her out as a target for their hate and criticism. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t come from a traditional political background. Maybe it’s because she has loudly protested Republican policies and talking points in the past. Or maybe it’s because she’s a young Latina who won’t take any of their abuse.

Either way, AOC has received a lot of ire from conservatives and that doesn’t seem to be letting up.

The hate has continued over the weekend as Mitch McConnell supporters posted a grossly inappropriate image involving a cardboard cut out of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram.

Twitter / @emrazz

In the photo, a group of young white men surround a cardboard cut out of Representative Ocasio-Cortez. One young man is shown embracing and kissing the image of the representative while another mimics holding the Latina by the neck, choking her. The post was originally made on Instagram before it was shared onto Twitter and was captioned with the suggestive, “Break me off a piece of that.”

The pictures were taken at an event called the Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was a speaker at the event. His social media team even posted their own controversial photo that involved tombstones with the names of McConnell’s political rivals. In his time as Majority Leader, McConnell has worked to oppose bipartisanship, blocking many motions that have come from Democrats in Senate and killing the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court so this is nothing new from the Senator.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez was quick to respond to the image Monday night when it began trending on Twitter.


Twitter / @aoc

“Hey @senatemajldr – these young men look like they work for you,” Representative Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Monday night. “Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?”

It’s been well documented that Representative Ocasio-Cortez has received threats of violence, death and rape from far-right supporters and those that oppose the Democratic party. A cop in Lousiana recently got fired for threatening the representative on social media. The exposed Facebook group belonging to ICE agents also had Photoshopped pictures of Rep Ocasio-Cortez being sexually abused and harmed. So, this Instagram post is just one of many situations when conservatives have threatened violence — whether seriously or as a depraved joke — against the Latina.

McConnell’s campaign responded to the post via the Washington Post denying any relation to the young men in the picture.

Twitter / @frankthrop

Kevin Golden, McConnell’s campaign manager put out the following statement:

“These young men are not campaign staff. They’re high schoolers and it’s incredible that the national media has sought to once again paint a target on their backs rather than report real, and significant news in our country. Team Mitch in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive, or demeaning acts toward life-sized cardboard cutouts of any gender.”

It’s important to note that these young men also attend Covington Catholic School — the same school that produced the teens who disrupted the January 2018 Native American demonstration. During that controversy, McConnell and team also defended the young men and put the blame on the media for calling attention to what they saw as a case of “boys being boys.”

The young men pictured in the Insta pic also had other disturbing props at the Fancy Farm Picnic.

Twitter / @StrangeShadows

The group also came equipped with large cardboard cutouts of Brett Kavanaugh’s face. Kavanaugh was made a Supreme Court Justice when McConnell blocked the nomination of Judge Garland despite there being major accusations of sexual assault and rape against Kavanaugh. These props are truly tasteless but make sense considering their photo with the AOC cut out.

Of course, Twitter was quick to call out the racism, misogyny, and danger that is at play with stunts like these.

Twitter / @saraialejandraa

As this post points out, images of cis white men choking a Latina is inherently racist, no matter if they were playing around or not. It’s also indicative of the misogyny that is laughed off and allowed in the Republican party. This Twitter user also suggested donating to McConnell’s opponent, Amy McGrath, for his 2020 Kentucky seat.

Speaking of McGrath, she also tweeted her condemnation for McConnell and the disturbing images that came out of the Kentucky event.

Twitter / @AmyMcGrathKY

The McConnell opponent tweeted her disbelief and her disapproval of the Senate Majority Leader’s use of death imagery in his political messaging — especially so soon after the tragedy in El Paso. We have witnessed the Republican party coyly encourage violence against progressives and then act innocently about it. It’s time to call these moments out for what they are: threats that could very well turn to brutality and death.

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