Lanny Lancaster, Cabarrus County GOP chairman, shared a photo of an unidentified woman wearing braces and large glasses in an apparent attempt to convince his constituents that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault in the early 1980s, was too ugly to have been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh.
Lancaster shared the fake photo on Facebook, adding the comments: “This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.”
The photo has now been shared thousands of times on Facebook.
On Tuesday, Democratic congressional candidate Frank McNeill, who is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson in the 8th district, included the post in an email newsletter as an example of a Republican “assault on the safety and dignity of American women.”
“Now, Republican attacks on Dr. Blasey-Ford are coming from inside our own 8th District. Cabarrus County Republican Chair, Lanny Lancaster, posted his nastiness on Facebook just last night!” McNeill said in the newsletter.
Lancaster said in a phone interview with The News & Observer that there’s nothing inappropriate about his post.
“I didn’t say anything. I just said this is her picture. Basically, the media is distorting the facts on this lady. Everything she’s said is made up. She has no evidence whatsoever. I support that theory,” Lancaster said.
“The media wants you to think she was a beautiful young lady who was on her way home from the tennis courts … ” Lancaster said. “I just wanted you to see the real person. I wanted people to see that this is really her.”
The News & Observer notes:
The picture in the Facebook post that Lancaster shared is not of Ford. The photo has been circulating on the internet as a meme since as early as 2012. Users on 4chan, an anonymous message board site known for circulating false information, claimed the photo shows Ford. Other photos of Ford from her teenage years have circulated, and the one Lancaster shared bears no resemblance.
That’s because the photo isn’t of Ford, a member of her legal team told The N&O in an email.
“This is a transparent attempt to shame a woman and objectify Dr. Blasey Ford again,” said Marc O’Hara, McNeill’s campaign manager. “As a father of a daughter and a grandfather of three, I honestly don’t know how Mr. Lancaster will be able to look his daughter in the eye after this nonsense.”
Brandon Gosey, a member of the Rutherford County School Board, recently apologized after using the same photo to mock Ford, reports WLOS in Asheville.
Gosey issued the following apology:
“I am very sorry for sharing the facebook post. In hindsight, I should have taken more time to consider the message that was being sent by the post. Had I taken that time, I would not have shared the post. I never intended to be disrespectful to anyone. I realize now that the post was offensive, unprofessional and inappropriate. While I can’t “Undo” any action I have made at this point, I hope my community members will accept my apology.”