The LGBTQ Victory Fund has denounced “homophobic” campaign mailers from the National Republican Congressional Committee that attack gay congressional candidate Jon Hoadley over a series of controversial blog posts he wrote.
Hoadley, a state representative from Kalamazoo who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District, won the Democratic primary against teacher Jen Richardson last month.
Upton, who narrowly won re-election in 2018, was already considered a potentially vulnerable incumbent. As such, Hoadley has been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program for Democrats running for seats that could potentially flip in a particular election cycle, based on their level of local support, organization, and fundraising.
But the Republicans’ campaign arm, the NRCC, has been referring to Hoadley as a “pedo sex poet,” highlighting — with the help of their ideological allies at the New York Post — controversial, tongue-in-cheek blog posts made by the then-21-year-old Hoadley in 2004, before he was elected.
The LiveJournal blog, called “Rambling Politics” was deleted on the evening of the Democratic primary.
In his posts, Hoadley allegedly referred to women as “breeders” and called them “weird/bad dancers.” In 2005, he discussed going to a gay bar to “learn about crystal meth” and previously made a colorful joke referring to his sexual partners as “victims.”
In one of the earliest blog posts from 2004, Hoadley shared a a conversation with a friend about being a flower girl at a friend’s wedding and included a reference to a “four-year-old wearing a thong.”
Hoadley has dismissed the blog entries as “bad college poetry,” offering an apology in a Facebook video last month while accusing Republicans of distorting the truth and taking what he said out of context.
“I said things 16 years ago that I would never say today. That are not reflective of who I am,” Hoadley said. “For folks that I hurt with my words, I’m sorry.”
The NRCC has repeated its attack on Hoadley in campaign mailers sent to voters this month, with a spokeswoman saying that Hoadley “must still be high on the meth he spoke fondly of in his poems sexualizing toddlers, trivializing rape and calling pregnant women ‘breeders’ if he thinks anyone but him should be apologizing.”
But the LGBTQ Victory Fund says that calling Hoadley a “pedo sex poet” traffics in age-old stereotypes of gay men as sexual predators, and has demanded that both the NRCC and Upton’s campaign denounce the attacks.
“Fred Upton is resorting to digging up Jon’s puerile college blog posts and pulling together out-of-context words and phrases because he can find nothing else to criticize about Jon’s public service record,” Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement.
“If Upton wants to be a digital avenger working to critique 15-year-old internet postings, why does he remain silent on the racist, sexist, transphobic and anti-immigrant tweets that are a constant from this White House? Where is his rebuttal of Donald Trump’s tweets denying the extent of a pandemic that has killed 180,000 Americans with no end in sight?
“It is pathetic to see Fred resort to becoming an internet troll at a time when our president’s words and actions have led to a resurgence in hate crimes, white supremacy and divisiveness,” Parker added. “Any media outlet that reports on Fred’s take on Jon’s internet musings from 15 years ago should also ask for Fred’s takes on Trump’s tweets from just the past week.”
Victory also sought to dispel some of the misconceptions stemming from the NRCC’s attack, noting that the “thong” comment was a joke, not a deliberate attempt to hyper-sexualize children, pointing to Hoadley’s political record defending women’s issues, and noting that Hoadley’s blog about going to a leather bar for an informational meeting on the impact of crystal meth on the LGBTQ community has been taken out of context. In fact, they note, Hoadley even wrote: “Don’t do meth” at the end of the controversial post in question.
The Upton campaign pushed back against assertions that they should apologize for repeating the NRCC attack.
“The Upton campaign has had nothing whatsoever to do with Jon Hoadley’s own words being used in campaign ads by independent outside groups, which we legally do not, nor can we, have any control over,” Nate Henschel, Upton’s campaign manager, told the Detroit News. “But the facts are the contents of the blog were written by Jon Hoadley. He deleted the blog as a candidate for Congress until his writings resurfaced election night. He has since apologized, acknowledging his words were hurtful.”
The Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative LGBTQ political group, said that Hoadley has been in the public eye for a long time and “knows better than to describe children and women so dismissively,” and also attacked Victory Fund for attempting to defend or clarify Hoadley’s remarks.
“That ‘catty gay’ trope does nothing but continue to embarrass the LGBTQ community,” Charles Moran, the managing director for the Log Cabin Republicans, said in a statement. “The Victory Fund, which is no stranger to relying on startling and defamatory homophobic tropes about gay conservatives they don’t agree with, should sit out of this race.”
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