A Pennsylvania state lawmaker faces backlash after posting a controversial video of himself confronting a Planned Parenthood protestor, calling the “white old lady” “racist and disgusting.”
On May 2, state representative Brian Sims posted the video to Twitter, writing, “Push back against Planned Parenthood protestors, PLEASE! They prey on young women, they use white privilege, & shame. They’re racist, classist, bigots who NEED & DESERVE our righteous opposition. Push back, please! #YouAreStrongEnough.”
Push back against Planned Parenthood protestors, PLEASE! They prey on young women, they use white privilege, & shame. They’re racist, classist, bigots who NEED & DESERVE our righteous opposition. Push back, please! #YouAreStrongEnough https://t.co/rYQOiAhC0D— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) May 2, 2019
Outside a Planned Parenthood in Southeastern Pennsylvania, a location that he said is one of the most heavily protested in the country, Rep. Brian Sims approached a woman holding what appears to be a rosary. Sims referred to the unidentified woman as “today’s protester” and an “old white lady,” claiming she was shaming women for seeking out an abortion.
“It’s an attack on the constitution. It’s an attack on the rights of every single person coming here,” Sims said in the video, adding that the right that allows her to protest outside the abortion clinic also allows him to film her protesting. “And don’t convince yourself that what you’re doing here isn’t racist. How dare you, this is grotesque.”
Throughout the video, the older woman is seen trying to avoid Sims and his camera, and at one point objecting, “Don’t put your camera in my face!”
However, Sims continued heckling the unidentified woman for the duration of the 8-minute video, instead berating her for “hiding her head in shame.”
“Now you hide your head in shame? You have things to say to every single person heading to Planned Parenthood, but you hide your head in shame now that you have to say it in public? Don’t hide from your broken convictions,” the Pennsylvania lawmakers said.
Sims went on to criticize the woman’s faith, adding that she likely was not protesting the child molestation of children by priests outside Catholic churches. “There’s nothing Christian, loving or kind about what you’re doing,” Sims said. “There’s no faith that tells you it’s your job to shame people that they have a constitutional right to do.”
Throughout the video, Rep. Sims encouraged watchers to donate to Planned Parenthood in honor of the “old white lady telling people what’s right for their bodies.” Planned Parenthood has not answered Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment on the video.
The video received immediate backlash, with the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican party calling on the Democratic lawmakers to apologize. Others online criticized Sims for his actions despite being a member and advocate of the LGBTQ community, while others protested by donating money to anti-abortion organizations.
What an embarrassment you are both as a man and as a member of the gay community.— Brandon Straka (@usminority) May 7, 2019
You harass people because of their age & skin color?
You don’t believe that women have a right to express themselves as they see fit?
Misogynist. Racist. Agist. LGBTyrant. #WalkAway
Sims’ video began garnering criticism on a national level when Live Action, an anti-abortion group, retweeted the video of him harassing the Planned Parenthood protester and resurfaced an Apr. 18 video of Sims asking three teens praying outside the Planned Parenthood.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) retweeted the resurfaced video calling out the “hateful, angry Dem” for “offering a $100 bounty for the identities of three teenage girls praying outside Planned Parenthood.”
“Will Dem Party condemns this abuse?” the Texas senator tweeted.
Hateful, angry Dem state rep videoed himself offering a $100 bounty for the identities of three teenage girls praying outside Planned Parenthood. These young girls showed more maturity than this self-described “College Football Captain.” Will Dem Party condemns this abuse? https://t.co/updd6BLue7— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 7, 2019
After the mounting backlash, Rep. Brian Sims issued an apology across his social media platform with a video. Sims explained his long history as a fierce advocate for Planned Parenthood including serving as a volunteer patient escort, “seeing first-hand the insults, the slurs, the attacks and the racism at mostly young girls.”
However, the lawmaker acknowledged his aggression in approaching these anti-abortion protesters.
“Last week, I wasn’t a patient escort— I was a neighbor and a concerned citizen. And I was aggressive,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker apologized in the video. “ I also know that two wrongs don’t make a right. I can do better, and I will do better, for the women of Pennsylvania.”
Yahoo Lifestyle’s attempts to reach out to Rep. Brian Sims were not answered.
I will fiercely protect a woman’s right to make the best choices for her health & her body, unimpeded. I also know that two wrongs don’t make a right, especially on the front lines of a civil rights battle. I can do better, and I will do better, for the women of Pennsylvania. pic.twitter.com/jURL1UX9qE— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) May 7, 2019
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