A Republican congressional candidate has come under fire after name-calling two Stoneman Douglas survivors.
Since the deadly shooting last month, Emma González and David Hogg have risen to prominence as youth advocates for gun reform. But Leslie Gibson, the only declared candidate in Maine’s 57th congressional district, singled the two out for abuse on Twitter, calling González a “skinhead lesbian” and Hogg a “bald-faced liar.”
Gibson launched his Twitter tirade after watching Hogg’s appearance on CNN, where the teen lashed out at NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch. Gibson claimed Hogg was “blatantly lying.”
In a later tweet, Gibson claimed calling González a survivor was “disingenuous,” since she was “in a completely different part of the school” than the 17 victims who were gunned down. The backlash from other users was almost immediate, and Gibson privatized both his personal and his campaign Twitter accounts less than 24 hours later. (It appears those accounts have now been deleted.)
Feeling the heat @LeslieEGibson2? Pretty sure this piece of shit freaked out and deactivated his account. Maybe don't tweet hateful shit about survivors of a mass shooting, you fucktard #Maine #LeslieGibson #LeslieGibsonIsAWeasel
— grace (@mermer_w) March 13, 2018
WANTED: Dem challenger for Maine House District 57 (towns of Greene & Sabbatus). Unchallenged GOP candidate Leslie Gibson hurled verbal abuse at two teen survivors of the Parkland school shooting who have spoken out for passage of commonsense gun regs. https://t.co/2S1dHheM4R
— Tulula Tenant (@Tulula_T) March 13, 2018
Other Maine politicos criticized Gibson for his distasteful comments, as well.
“That sort of stupidity really turns people off,” Pat Fogg, a Democratic organizer, told the Sun Journal.
Gibson has since apologized, claiming it was “inappropriate to single out these students regardless of whether I agree with their message or not.”
“My passion for defending our rights must be tempered with civility,” he added, “and that did not happen in this instance.”