Updated Nov 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Twitter labels GOP Rep. Gosar's video of him killing AOC, attacking Biden

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ)

Paul Gosar. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter said Monday that Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-Ariz.) sharing of a doctored video to Twitter and Instagram showing him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and attacking President Biden with two swords violates the company's policies.

Why it matters: Dozens of social media users flagged the video, posted Sunday, as a potential violation of Twitter's rules regarding violent threats and the glorification of violence, and other users have called for his Twitter and Instagram accounts to be suspended, the Washington Post reports.

Of note: A Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company placed a public interest notice on his tweet "as it violates our hateful conduct policy."

  • "As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Quote Tweet the Tweet, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it," the spokesperson said.

State of play: The 90-second video is seemingly a photoshopped version of a popular anime video and depicts Gosar, alongside Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), fighting giant creatures with photoshopped faces of Ocasio-Cortez and Biden, per the Post.

  • The video — shared with the caption, "Any anime fans out there?" — also shows flashing images of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and is overlaid with text with words such as "crime," "gangs" and "murder."

The big picture: On previous occasions, Gosar has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and has circulated conspiracy theories about the insurrection.

  • In June, he appeared to defend himself against criticism for planning a fundraiser with a white nationalist.
  • In February, he declared his opposition to "white racism" hours after making a speech at a far-right conference whose organizer advocated for white nationalism, the Washington Post notes.

What they're saying: Ocasio-Cortez responded by tweeting that Gosar was "creepy." She said he'd "face no consequences" and claimed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) "cheers him on with excuses."

  • The video drew condemnation from other members of Congress, with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) calling Gosar's behavior "sick." "In any workplace in America, if a co-worker made an anime video killing another co-worker, that person would be fired," he added in his tweet.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tweeted that McCarthy's "colleague just posted a video of himself swinging two swords at President Biden. These blood-thirsty losers are more comfortable with violence than voting."
  • Representatives for Gosar, Instagram and Facebook — which owns Instagram — did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context and comment from Ocasio-Cortez and Lieu.

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