US Republican who called Florida survivor 'skinhead lesbian' quits race

Leslie Gibson has since deleted his Twitter account

Judith Vonberg
Saturday 17 March 2018 20:15 GMT
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Florida student Emma Gonzalez passionately calls for gun control at rally after school shooting

A Republican candidate who called one victim of the Florida school shooting a “skinhead lesbian” and referred to another as “bald-faced liar" has quit the race for the Maine House of Representatives.

Leslie Gibson’s comments on Twitter earlier this week sparked widespread outrage in the wake of the tragedy which saw 14 pupils and three members of staff gunned down at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz has pleaded not guilty to the murders.

Referring to Emma Gonzalez, one of the Florida students leading the charge for national gun law reform, Mr Gibson said there was “nothing about this skinhead lesbian” that impressed him.

He also attacked David Hogg, another survivor and pro-gun control activist, calling him “a bald-faced liar”.

Mr Gibson has since deleted his Twitter account, but not before multiple news outlets captured screenshots of the tweets.

Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, three days after the Parkland shooting
Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control at the Broward County Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, three days after the Parkland shooting (AFP/Getty Images)

The Republican had been unopposed in the contest, but Democrat Eryn Gilchrist and Republican Thomas Martin Jr joined the race after Mr Gibson made his comments.

Ms Gilchrist said she was “horrified” at the thought of Mr Gibson representing her.

“All I can say is Thank You,” wrote Ms Gonzalez on Twitter after she announced her intention to run.

The election will be held on 6 November.

It is not the first time the school's students have come under attack.

In the days after the shooting, Mr Hogg became the subject of a viral conspiracy theory that claimed he and the other young activists were paid actors, being used by gun control advocates to push for their policies.

He disputed the claims, telling CNN: "I'm not a crisis actor... I'm someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that."

Agencies contributed to this report

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