A GOP Candidate Called Parkland Survivor Emma Gonzalez A "Skinhead Lesbian" & Now He's Apologizing
Since a mass shooter killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) on Feb. 14, students from the Parkland, Florida school have mobilized to demand increased gun control measures at both the state and federal level. Their voices have been so loud and their message so widely spread that one pro-gun politician, Maine House candidate and Republican Leslie Gibson, called Parkland survivor Emma González a "skinhead lesbian" in a now-deleted Tweet.
“There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat," Gibson recently tweeted. According to a screenshot of the Tweet, Gibson's comments were a response to an article shared by The Hill, featuring a photo of Gonzalez. The Hill tweet read, "Parkland student surpasses NRA in Twitter followers less than two weeks after school shooting" and linked to a related story. In a later tweet, Gibson reportedly apologized, writing:
I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you. It was wrong and unacceptable. You are doing work that is important to you. I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you.
On Monday, however, he told The Portland Press Herald that "it was not appropriate to single out the Parkland students, but I stand firm in my defense of our constitutional rights."
The disparaging remarks are particularly notable, and even more inappropriate, because González — who is a teenager — openly identifies as bisexual. As of Tuesday afternoon, Gibson's Twitter account appeared to be deactivated. Initial reports indicated that, at first, the account was set to private. Bustle has reached out to González for comment.
González wasn't the only Parkland survivor that Gibson targeted, either. In a separate Tweet, he also described David Hogg as a "bald-faced liar." That Tweet, like the one attacking González, was also reportedly deleted.
According to The Daily Dot, Gibson's comments about Hogg were a response to Hogg's statement that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch helps gun manufacturers lobby Congress. After describing Hogg as a bald faced liar, Gibson reportedly added, "Dana Loesch ‘owns’ Congressmen? Completely absurd.”
Gibson's comments riled up Democrats around the country, but as it stands, he continues to run for his House position unopposed. It's not clear whether that will change, despite the public outrage about his comments. "I wish I knew someone who could get into this race,” Pat Fogg, a Democratic organizer, told the Press Herald. "That sort of stupidity really turns people off."
The Parkland survivors have all but dominated headlines in the aftermath of the MSD school shooting. Almost immediately after the violent day came to an end, a group of the surviving teens organized themselves into gun-control advocates and activists, spreading their message through social media, press conferences, and at least one town hall.
Among the events the group has planned is the March For Our Lives, which is slated to take place on March 24. Participants plan to march on Washington, "to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today," according to the event's website.