FILE – In this July 23, 2020, the file picture from the video, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., speaks … [+]
The hashtag #AOClied began to develop on Wednesday night after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) had a backlash over her initial claims about the Capitol Riot on Jan. 6. The controversy began after the New York City Congressman, commonly known as “AOC,” posted a video on social media describing a confrontation with the Capitol Police in their office in the Capitol complex.
Soon after it was released, many noticed that their office was in the Cannon Building, not the actual Capitol Building, which contains the dome, as well as the Chambers of the House and Senate. The rioters were successfully injured in this building on January 6th. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s offices in the Cannon building are accessible through underground tunnels, although the building has never been breached.
Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) of the Daily Caller was among those who republished the video description of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s events.
In the video, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez described how she believed her life was in danger and how she had to hide in a bathroom and keep silent: “I’ve never been calmer in my entire life.”
On Wednesday, Rep. Nancy Mace (RS.C.), who also has an office in the same building, shared a different view of events than the January 6th violation of the Capitol. Rep. Mace (@RepNancyMace) posted: “. @ AOC made it clear she didn’t know who was at her door. Breathless media attempts to ignite fictional news flames are dangerous. My office is two doors down. Insurgents never stormed our hallway. Egregious doesn’t even begin to cover. Is there nothing MSM won’t politicize? “
Soon after, questions were raised if the New York Congresswoman was exaggerating the events, and media outlets like RedState.com soon picked up the story.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) went to Twitter to correct the record: “This is the latest manipulative take on the right. They are manipulating the fact that most people don’t know the layout of the Capitol complex. Us We were all in the Capitol complex – the attack wasn’t just aimed at the dome. The bombs that Trump supporters had planted surrounded our offices too. “
Accessed on Twitter
The hashtags #AOClied and #AlexandriaOcasioSmollet – a reference to the disgraced actor Jussie Smollet, who falsely claimed to be a victim of a hate crime – prompted just as many on social media to wonder if the story was true. By Thursday morning, #AOClied had over 51,000 tweets.
Political comedian Tim Young (@TimTunsHisMouth) was one of those quick to make fun of, sharing a photo of the two brothers who were reportedly paid by Smollet to orchestrate his hate crime.
Conservative commentator Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) also mocked the story, posting a picture of MSNBC’s Brian Williams who was demoted as an anchor by NBC Nightly News for “misrepresenting events”.
Don’t blame the victim
However, many came on social media in defense of New York Congressmen.
@almostdr_obrien was one of the voices who noted, “Her fear, trauma, and feelings were real. Especially after your group consistently put a target on her back. Her attempts to minimize her experience speak volumes.”
@DarakshanRaja added, “The fact that this is a trend (#AOClied) is a great reminder of what happens when survivors perform. @AOC has tremendous courage to instigate abuse and violence in all its forms.”
@ tonykm07 suggested, “Lowering AOC’s response and anxiety will decrease every veterinarian’s anxiety and PTSD responses. You may not have been in your building, but when the news shows a massive swarm of people attacking the Capitol, like can she know? ” The?”
As with other recent hashtags that went viral and soon got hijacked, the #AOClied was also, but in this case it wasn’t the Korean popular music (K-pop) artists who had the final say.
Instead, pictures of cute pets were posted on Thursday morning – and maybe that’s the best way back to unity. When comments and conversations get so divisive and hateful, it may be time to bring in something to interfere with the discussion.