With a president like Donald Trump, it comes as little surprise that elected officials and party leaders down the line in North Carolina spew hateful, tone-deaf and inaccurate blather on social media. There have been a slew of examples recently, and voters and responsible party officials should stand up to the trend.
The chairman of the Republican Party in Cabarrus County, Lanny Lancaster, posted a photo on Facebook that he said was of Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when both were teens. The photo shows a teen with large glasses and braces. Lancaster adds: “This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.”
It clearly appears he is suggesting the girl in the photo is too unattractive to sexually assault.
“The media wants you to think she was a beautiful young lady who was on her way home from the tennis courts…” Lancaster told the News & Observer. “I just wanted you to see the real person. I wanted people to see that this is really her.”
Except it wasn’t.
Lancaster’s post was horrific under any circumstances. It’s made worse by the fact that the photo isn’t even of Blasey Ford. It’s a picture that has been an online meme for many years. Blasey Ford’s lawyers confirmed to the News & Observer that it was not her.
Lancaster was unapologetic.
That contrasts with Brandon Gosey, a school board member in Rutherford County who apologized last week for his own inappropriate Facebook post, WLOS reported. Gosey posted a photo of Kavanaugh at age 17 next to the same not-Blasey-Ford photo that Lancaster posted. “Naw, he didn’t … she by lyin,” Gosey’s post says, suggesting the girl was not pretty enough for Kavanaugh to sexually assault.
“I never intended to be disrespectful to anyone,” Gosey said in his apology.
The offensiveness – or cluelessness – is not confined to one party, of course. The NC Insider’s Lauren Horsch reported last week on offensive tweets by Robert Howard, the state Democratic Party’s communications director. From 2011 to 2013, Howard posted multiple inappropriate tweets that were explicit and derogatory to women. Howard apologized.
It’s all disheartening to see. Is it too much to hope that these are the final death throes of a sexist culture that is increasingly not tolerated?