November 10, 2021
On Sunday night, November 7, Representative Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) shared an altered, animated video that depicts him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and swinging two swords at President Joe Biden (D)—prompting condemnation and calls for his Twitter and Instagram accounts to be suspended, reports The Washington Post.
AOC responded on Monday night, November 8, after arriving in Glasgow, Scotland, as part of a congressional delegation. Gosar, she said, will probably “face no consequences” because House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) “cheers him on with excuses.”
“Everyone needs to relax,” Gosar’s Digital Director, Jessica Lycos, said in a statement.
According to the Post, a Twitter spokesperson said late Monday that a “public interest notice” had been placed on Gosar’s tweet because it violates the company’s policy against hateful conduct.
Gosa has long drawn criticism for his extremist views, including his spreading of conspiracy theories about the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and the deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. In February, he appeared at which the organizer called for white supremacy. Gosar later distanced himself from the organizer’s remarks.
The congressman’s Sunday night post appeared to go further than his previous contentious remarks and social media posts, raising the specter of political violence in a manner similar to former president Donald Trump’s frequent allusions to armed revolution.
“Any anime fans out there?” Gosar said in the tweet in which he shared a link to the video.
The 90-second clip appears to be an altered version of the opening credits of the Japanese animated series “Attack on Titan.” The show revolves around a hero who sets out to destroy the Titans, giant creatures that have devoured nearly all of human civilization. In recent years, Internet users have turned the show’s opening credits into a popular meme.
In the video Gosar posted, the congressman is depicted fighting the Titans alongside Republican legislators Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and Lauren Boebert (Colorado). In one scene, Ocasio-Cortez’s face is edited over one of the Titans’ faces. Gosar flies into the air and slashes the Titan in the back of the neck, killing it.
In another scene, Gosar swings two swords at a foe whose face has been replaced by that of Biden.
The Democrats were not amused. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) criticized Gosar in a tweet on Monday morning in which he also tagged McCarthy. “Happy Monday in America, where @GOPLeader McCarthy’s colleague just posted a video of himself swinging two swords at President Biden,” Swalwell said in the tweet. “These blood thirsty losers are more comfortable with violence than voting. Keep exposing them.”
Representative Ted Lieu (D-California) also denounced the video, arguing that “in any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired.” He added, “This is sick behavior from Rep. Paul Gosar.”
Research contact: @washingtonpost