In a supremely misogynistic and sexist series of audio, a Republican congressman from Minnesota exclaimed how women, particularly women voters, were “sluts,” according to CNN’S KFile.
The investigative team uncovered several months of audio clippings of Rep. Jason Lewis on his syndicated radio show “Jason Lewis Show” that the congressman hosted from 2009 to 2014. In one segment of the show, which had the tagline “America’s Mr. Right,” Lewis lambasted “young single women,” whom he said voted based on the issue of free contraceptives.
In early 2012, a young student activist at Georgetown, Sandra Fluke, testified to a Democratic congressional group that students paid as much as $1,000 a year for birth control pills and argued religiously affiliated institutions, such as universities and hospitals, should pay for the cost of contraceptives. In response, a radio show host, Rush Limbaugh, called her a “slut.”
Backing Limbaugh’s shocking comments, Lewis said, “Now Limbaugh's reasoning was, look, if you're demanding that the taxpayers pay for your contraception, you must use a lot of them and therefore, ergo, you're very sexually active and in the old days, what we used to call people who were in college or even graduate school who were sexually active, we called them sluts."
“Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment,” he said in a March 2012 episode. “Does a woman now have the right to behave -- and I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around -- you know, I'm not going to get there, but you know what I'm talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?”
He then referred to iconic singer Madonna and lamented how he couldn’t get away with calling her a slut.
“But have we really got to the point where you can't refer to Madonna as a slut without being sued?” he asked. “I mean, Madonna has had a series of lovers, as have many in Hollywood. Now in the old days, what did we call this? Madonna dresses up in these sorts of prostitute-like outfits on stage, and she goes there and she sings and she shows half of her body. What did we call those people? 30 years ago? 40 years ago? 50 years ago? You can't do that today, it's too politically incorrect?”
He also said that if young women stopped looking “like some slut,” they won’t be sexually harassed.
In a November 2012 program, Lewis pushed the stereotype that women, who voted for Democrats, do not have brains. He also said they stopped “being human beings.”
“So there is something here going on with women who are playing into that stereotype that they're not thinking,” he said. “Oh, ‘I know that's awfully prejudicial because the only way you can think is it a vote Republican, Jason.’ I'm not saying voting Republican, but when you reliably almost a knee-jerk Democrat vote -- is birth control really that important to you ladies? Is that really the most important thing that you get your condoms for free?”
“You can be bought off for that?” Lewis later added. “I mean, boy, that's the, all the other issues: the Hispanic problem, social issues, class warfare, you know, we can figure out a way to tackle those. This one, if you're that far down the road and you say you're a human being, I've got my suspicions. You're not, you're without a brain. You have no, you have no cognitive function whatsoever. If that's all it takes to buy you off.”
Lewis campaign defended his comments saying it was “his job to be provocative while on the radio,” which is absolutely no reason why he had to push false stereotypes and insult women.
During the 2016 campaign, Lewis came under scrutiny and The Atlantic dubbed him a “Mini Trump,” in an article that underscored the congressman’s incendiary rhetoric towards women and minorities. However, Lewis largely remained under the radar at the time. Minnesota Democrats challenged Lewis to release the full archives of his radio show but he said his comments were “taken out of context” and the demand was a “distraction” from running his campaign.
If Rep. Jason Lewis is pissed he can’t call women sluts anymore, here’s something you can do. @emilyslist has endorsed his opponent, @AngieCraigMN. Donate to help her win her election & kick this sexist out of office: https://t.co/AClPWnAYdj the year is 2018, folks.— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) July 18, 2018
Madonna has not responded to the misogynistic remarks about herself, however, Fluke told CNN, “Jason Lewis' attitude toward the women of his district and this country is incredibly insulting and beneath any member of the United States Congress. Americans stood with me and resoundingly rejected such uncivil and demeaning attacks from public figures back in 2012. Since then, the brave women of the #MeToo movement have again reminded all of us that disparaging women with insults like 'slut’ and ‘parasite,' is an attempt to silence them from speaking up and fighting for comprehensive healthcare they can afford.”
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