An ad showing a freshman congresswoman’s face in flames that aired during the Democratic Presidential debate Thursday night has resulted in #BoycottABC trending on Twitter.
The inflammatory anti-socialism ad aired on an unknown number of Sinclair-owned ABC stations, including in Washington D.C., and depicted a photo of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on fire. So far more than 40,000 tweets have used the hashtag.
AOC has slammed the commercial: “GOP’s message: No policy, no facts, just displays of violence + corporations like @ABCNetwork & Sinclair who amplify them. They profit from burning my likeness on TV. But who pays for heightened security? Who answers the phones for the threats resulting from a violent, false ad?”
The ad (embedded below) was paid for by the New Faces GOP PAC and Elizabeth Heng, who unsuccessfully ran for a California congressional seat in 2018. The ad opens with an image of Ocasio-Cortez and the voiceover from Heng: “This is the face of socialism and ignorance. Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horrors of socialism?”
Then the Ocasio-Cortez image burns and reveals skulls from the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia.
“My father was minutes away from death in Cambodia before a forced marriage saved his life,” Heng said. “That’s socialism — forced obedience, starvation. Mine is the face of freedom. My skin is not white, I’m not outrageous, racist nor socialist. I’m a Republican.”
Learn more about "New Faces GOP" super PAC that paid for ads attacking @AOC during the #DemDebate in FCC records using @OpenSecrets political ad tracker: https://t.co/1rJRNEYEZe pic.twitter.com/f8s7cxSbP9— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) September 13, 2019
It’s quite possible, and even likely, that the broadcaster was unaware of the ad before it aired on locally owned stations. But the move, combined with Dancing with the Stars recently casting former Trump spokesman Sean Spicer, has many calling for a boycott of the Disney-owned network.
#BoycottABC? Huh? Click. Oh. So Republicans have poor kids TODAY dying in dog kennels but AOC is the face of Pol Pot? Tough arguing with ignorance. If Repugs objected to authoritarianism as much as they do ”socialism,” poor kids IN AMERICA TODAY wouldn’t be dying in dog kennels.— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) September 13, 2019
If you’re a surgeon, you’re captain of the ship and you take responsibility for everything that happens in your operating theater. Likewise, ABC is responsible for all advertisements run by its affiliate networks. That ad burning AOC’s face was horrifying. No excuses. #BoycottABC— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 13, 2019
I absolutely cannot believe that @ABC run an advisement showing a burning picture of @AOC and dead bodies.— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) September 13, 2019
During a debate that millions of Americans watched.
ABC is owned by @Disney which owns @starwars and this is unbelievable.#BoycottABC #BotcottDisney
@Disney needs to end their Sinclair partnership immediately— 🇺🇸 ★TheEliasRework★🏳️🌈 (@TheEliasRework) September 13, 2019
..... #BoycottABC is the warning ...You can't look the other way ...I literally have to decide if to sign up for New Disney channel and my annual Disney pass in days...It's up to you @Disney?
The ABC ad that ran last night is a disgusting disgrace. We should all #BoycottABC and #BoycottDisney. They don’t deserve one penny from us. Those involved from the GOP are despicable for even thinking of it.— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) September 13, 2019
Station group Sinclair is frequently accused of having a strong conservative lean, and last year ran an Inside Socialism special (which also used bombastic imagery and criticized AOC) and was hosted by former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka.
Heng also replied to AOC on Twitter:
.@aoc response is the Democratic party in a nutshell. They are more offended by truthful words than the acts of their political ideology that has killed millions of innocent victims. I don't care about @AOC feelings - I care about stopping her lies about the lies of socialism.— Elizabeth Heng (@ElizabethHeng) September 13, 2019
ABC has no comment on the matter while Sinclair has not commented.