Arizona Republican Representative Paul Gosar has compared those criticising him for the anime video he tweeted out depicting himself killing New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and preparing to attack President Joe Biden to the terrorists who killed 12 people at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“For this cartoon, some in Congress suggest I should be punished in some fashion,” Mr Gosar said in a statement tweeted by journalist Ben Jacobs. “For a cartoon.”
“While the degree of punishment differs, this is the same sentiment expressed against the Charlie Hebdo magazine in France in 2015 that was punished for publishing a cartoon – resulting in a real-life massacre of 12 real live people,” Mr Gosar added.
“Indeed, the former deputy director of the CIA concluded that those who attacked Charlie Hebdo were ‘trying to shut down a media organization that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad’.
“And now here, in the United States, six years later, the motive by some of my colleagues in Congress is the same: to shut down media that lampoons those who support the dangerous open border policies of the Biden administration,” Mr Gosar said.
The video was gone from the social media platform by Tuesday, two days after being posted, when it prompted widespread backlash.
Mr Gosar said on Tuesday evening that the video was a “symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy” adding that it “depicts the fight taking place” in the House over the “soul of America”.
“I do not espouse violence or harm towards any member of Congress or Mr Biden,” he said and added that the video was “not meant to depict any harm or violence against anyone portrayed in the anime”.
Mr Gosar’s siblings – Jennifer, Dave, and Tim Gosar – wrote in The Independent last week that their brother is “ridiculously unfit” to be in congress and that he “needs to be stopped”.
Mr Gosar’s video shows several Republican lawmakers, including Mr Gosar, Georgia Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Colorado Rep Lauren Boebert, as the heroes in the Japanese anime show Attack on Titan – a programme about a small post-apocalyptic society living in a closed-off city in order to keep away giants referred to as Titans.
The face of Ms Ocasio-Cortez is superimposed on a Titan that is killed by Mr Gosar’s character, who also attacks a character with Mr Biden’s face.
“That man couldn’t add two single digits together if he tried,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told her Instagram followers concerning Mr Gosar last week.
“Gosar has nothing but tumbleweeds up there,” she added on Twitter.
“This is sick behaviour from Rep Paul Gosar,” California Democrat Ted Lieu tweeted on 8 November. “He tweeted out the video showing him killing Rep Ocasio-Cortez from both his official account and personal account. In any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez added at the time that “a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me and he’ll face no consequences [because] @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work because institutions don’t protect [women of colour]”.
“Remember when [Florida Republican Ted Yoho] accosted me on the Capitol [steps] and called me a f—ing b—. Remember when Greene ran after me a few months ago screaming ... Remember when she stalked my office the [first] time [with] insurrectionists and people locked inside. All at my job and nothing ever happens,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
“This dude is just a collection of wet toothpicks anyway,” she added. “White supremacy is for extremely fragile people and sad men like him, whose self-concept relies on the myth that he was born superior because deep down he knows he couldn’t open a pickle jar or read a whole book by himself.”
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