Following a highly publicized town hall between a National Rifle Association spokeswoman, Florida politicians, and Parkland students on Wednesday, the NRA tweeted a Parks and Recreation GIF that Amy Poehler did not appreciate. Let's just say that she and other cast members reacted to the tweet with some choice words.
The original tweet from the NRA expressed gratitude to Dana Loesch for representing the association. At the town hall, Loesch defended guns as a means for self-defense and dodged many students' questions about specific gun control measures. Her performance was disparaged by progressives but praised by many conservatives.
"@DLoesch thank you for being the voice of over 5 Million #NRA members," read the NRA's tweet. But here's the kicker: The association decided to throw in a GIF of Poehler's Parks & Rec character Leslie Knope — an impassioned progressive politician who also happens to support pro-gun control Hillary Clinton — saying "thank you."
Parks & Rec co-creator Michael Schur evidently told Poehler about the tweet. She isn't on Twitter, so Schur said she asked him to send a message for her: "F*ck off."
"Hi, please take this down," wrote Schur, under the name Ken Tremendous. "I would prefer you not use a GIF from a show I worked on to promote your pro-slaughter agenda. Also, Amy isn't on twitter [sic], but she texted me a message: 'Can you tweet the NRA for me and tell them I said f*ck off?'"
Schur's tweet quickly went viral, getting retweeted 33,000 times.
Adam Scott, who plays Ben Wyatt (Knope's love interest and eventual husband) on the show, added some thoughts.
As did Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson. "Take it down and also please eat shit," he said, adding an American flag for good measure.
Knope's response to her image being used by a radical pro-gun advocacy group would probably go a little something like this.
The NRA's decision to use Knope's image is baffling. Poehler's character is an exaggerated (though earnest) take on a goody two-shoes liberal. The show, which ended in 2015, makes it clear that she's a big supporter of Hillary Clinton. In fact, a Parks & Rec writer published "A letter to America from Leslie Knope, regarding Donald Trump" after the 2016 election in which Knope calls Trump "a T. rex named Dr. Farts." Trump is staunchly pro-NRA, though he may help enact some modest gun control measures in the wake of Parkland.
The fact that the GIF defended Loesch is similarly egregious. Loesch is a popular conservative pundit who hosted a self-titled show on The Blaze for several years, but she is perhaps even more widely known for a couple of infamous NRA ads that came out last year. In April, Loesch appeared in a video about anti-Trump protests, saying, "The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth." In an anti-New York Times video published later that month, Loesch addressed the paper with a threat: "We're coming for you." The ads were interpreted by many liberals and conservatives as thinly veiled calls to violence.
Some people on Twitter pointed out that the NRA could more easily have used the character Ron Swanson to put a face on their message. Swanson is a libertarian (again, an exaggerated one — it's a comedy) who keeps a gun in his office. Others suggested that even Swanson would be in favor of reasonable gun control.
Offerman has said that Swanson would not have voted for Donald Trump.
As if to rub it in, Schur retweeted what he apparently deemed to be an appropriate usage of a Parks & Rec GIF from Emma González, a Parkland survivor who has been speaking out in favor of gun control since the attack. González replied to a tweet from Michelle Obama in support of the student activism with another Leslie Knope meme: "I agree with you on all things. Throughout history until the end of time forever."
If you want to quote Leslie Knope, do it right — or else Amy Poehler and the rest of the Parks & Rec team will set you straight.