A day after Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted a graphic anime video showing him scaling rooftops to slaughter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and threaten President Joe Biden, the far-right congressman has faced no repercussions, despite calls for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to punish him and for social media channels to delete his accounts.
"Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted. "@GOPLeader should join in condemning this horrific video and call on the Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate."
"This is sick behavior from Rep. Paul Gosar," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) wrote. "He tweeted out the video showing him killing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez from both his official account and personal account. In any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired."
"In the video, an imitation of the title sequence of the popular animated television show "Attack on Titan," Gosar slashes the neck of a titan with Ocasio-Cortez's face superimposed on it, and she falls to the ground. Interspersed with footage of migrants and border officials, it also shows Gosar, alongside likenesses of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO), wielding swords and about to strike Biden.
Twitter left the video up under a warning message that the tweet "violated the Twitter rules about hateful conduct. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." No such warning appears on Gosar's Instagram post.
Twitter's rules specifically state that "the glorification of violence" is prohibited and that user accounts found to be posting violent threats will be immediately and permanently suspended. Instagram also bars "graphic violence" in posts on its platform.
The Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish organization that fights antisemitism and other kinds of hate and extremism, demanded Gosar be removed from Twitter:
@RepGosar has repeatedly palled around with white supremacists, given a platform to Holocaust deniers, and now is openly embracing violence against political opponents. If he didn't have the title of Congressman, he'd be removed from Twitter and removed from his job.
Gosar is a repeat violator and does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Leadership must take action, do the right thing and immediately censure him and strip him of his committee assignments @Twitter must take action, do the right thing and remove him from the platform.
The organization, which has held social media platforms to task in the past over their failure to police antisemitic language, pointed to Gosar's amplification of Holocaust denial on Twitter and his attendance at a fundraiser hosted by white supremacist Nick Fuentes.
Gosar responded to the outcry Tuesday morning by posting a meme with the message, "It's a cartoon. Relax."
McCarthy (R-CA) has not responded to calls to strip Gosar of his committee assignments or open an ethics investigation against the Republican and did not answer a request for comment.
This is not the first time McCarthy has faced pressure to reprimand members of his caucus. He's faced frequent criticism for his handling of Greene, who has been allowed to harass fellow House members around the Capitol with impunity.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to Gosar's posts, "So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me. And he'll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work bc institutions don't protect woc [women of color]."
"Remember when [Rep. Ted] Yoho accosted me on the the Capitol and called me a f—ing b—," she added. "Remember when Greene ran after me a few months ago screaming and reaching. Remember when she stalked my office the 1st time w/ insurrectionists & ppl locked inside. All at my job; nothing ever happens."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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