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In a new ad, the Congressional Leadership Fund references blog posts Jon Hoadley wrote as a college student to smear the Democratic congressional candidate. Hoadley is 37 years-old and the first openly gay candidate to run for Congress in Michigan.
The Republican super PAC ad makes false claims about what Hoadley wrote and takes Hoadley’s statements out of context.
In a new TV ad, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC dedicated to securing a Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, attacks Democratic congressional candidate Jon Hoadley. "Jon Hoadley's judgment is disturbing," the ad claims. Hoadley currently represents Michigan’s 60th District in the state’s House of Representatives and he’s trying to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, who was first elected to Congress in 1986.
CLF’s ad inaccurately characterizes blog posts Hoadley wrote in 2004 and 2005, over 15 years ago, when he was a college student at Michigan State University. CLF claims that what Hoadley wrote was "sexist" and "creepy." The ad distorts other posts Hoadley wrote, claiming that Hoadley "wanted to learn about crystal meth" and "wrote that his sexual partners were his victims."
Hoadley’s blog, which has since been deleted, contained some insensitive comments but doesn’t substantiate CLF’s characterizations. In a statement to the New York Post which published a piece on the blog, Hoadley’s campaign said the posts were "bad college poetry." In a Facebook video released Aug. 10, Hoadley issued an apology: "I said things 16 years ago that I would never say today that aren’t reflective of who I am, and so for folks that I hurt with my words, I’m sorry."
Hoadley is 37 years-old and the first openly LGBTQ person to run for Congress in Michigan. The LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ candidates, accused CLF of using harmful tropes about gay men. CLF press secretary Will Reinert defended the ad in an email, reiterating its claim that the blog shows lack of judgment.
A closer look at each of the ad’s claims in context showed that CLF’s ad is inaccurate and misleading.
In a blog entry dated Jun. 20, 2005, when Hoadley was 21 years-old and had just completed his junior year in college, Hoadley recapped a weekend in D.C., including going out to straight bars with two friends. "Glad I went…but my straight fix has been satisfied for a while. I’m not going to lie: breeder=weird/bad dancers. Disagree if you want—you’re just deluding yourself," Hoadley wrote. According to Urban Dictionary, a "breeder" is a derogatory term to describe straight people. The term can refer to either straight men or straight women. The term is contemptuous, but it’s not sexist and Hoadley wasn’t using it to describe straight women exclusively.
This needs context. In a blog entry dated May 23, 2005 Hoadley wrote, "Tonight I went to an event at a leather bar. By myself. To learn about crystal meth. Don't do meth." Hoadley told an LGBTQ news website that the event was an information meeting about meth’s impact on the LGBTQ community.
This is misleading. Before sharing a poem titled "Burned By Love" on Jun. 14, 2005, Hoadley told his readers the post was fictional: "Wrote this awhile ago...looking for some feedback. BTW, sometimes fiction is the best way to tell truth — so don’t go getting any ideas about me." The poem, which appears to be about the search for connection, contains the lines, "I turn to my little black book that’s commonly called a cell phone. My fingers walk as I talk to the latest victim of my sexual conquest." CLF’s claim does not disclose Hoadley’s note that this was not about him.
This is inaccurate. In a Aug. 12, 2004 blog post, Hoadley shared what appeared to be a jovial conversation he had with a friend who said that he had a secret desire to be a flower girl. Toward the end of the conversation, Hoadley wrote "just don't let them make you look too fresh...you know how hoochie they try to make the flower girl," using a derogatory word to describe a sexually promiscuous woman. Hoadley’s friend responded, "I KNOW! I mean I shudder everytime I see a four year old wearing a thong." Hoadley did not write about a four-year-old wearing a thong as CLF claims. Nevertheless, CLF called the comment "creepy" in its ad but both Hoadley and his friend noted their revulsion to sexualizing children.
Drawing from posts Hoadley wrote on his college blog, CLF’s ad claims, "Hoadley called women ‘breeders.’... wanted to learn about crystal meth and wrote that his sexual partners were his victims. Hoadley even wrote about a four year-old wearing a thong."
Hoadley used the term "breeders" to refer to straight people, not women specifically. Hoadley attended an event to learn about the impact of crystal meth on the LGBTQ community. CLF’s claim implies that Hoadley was interested in experimenting with the illegal substance. Hoadley wrote a poem that contained the line, "I talk to the latest victim of my sexual conquest," but his blog post noted his writing was a piece of fiction and that he was not talking about himself. Hoadley relayed a conversation in which his friend said he "shudders" at the thought of a four year-old being dressed in a thong. Both Hoadley and his friend were expressing their disdain for sexualizing children.
CLF’s ad contains a small element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate this ad Mostly False.
This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.
Congressional Leadership Fund, about, access October 12, 2020
Congressional Leadership Fund, YouTube, "Jon Hoadley, Creepy," posted September 30, 2020
Jon Hoadley, State Representative | 60th House District, accessed October 12, 2020
Fred Upton, biography, October 12, 2020
Between the Lines, We Condemn Upton’s Homophobic Attacks on Hoadley, September 12, 2020
Hoadley LiveJournal, June 20, 2005 post, accessed via the Internet Archive, October 12, 2020
Urban Dictionary, "breeder," accessed October 12, 2020
Hoadley LiveJournal, May 23, 2005 post, accessed via the Internet Archive, October 12, 2020
Them., Nico Lang, "LGBTQ+ Candidates Are Facing More Attacks Than Ever. They’re Thriving Anyway," September 1, 2020
Hoadley LiveJournal, June 14, 2005 post, accessed via the Internet Archive, October 12, 2020
Hoadley LiveJournal, August 12, 2004 post, accessed via the Internet Archive, October 12, 2020
New York Post, Ebony Bowden, "Michigan Democratic rising star Rep. Jon Hoadley blogged about drug use and sex," August 4, 2020
Jon Hoadley, Facebook post, August 10, 2020
LGBTQ Victory Fund, "TV Ad Latest Tactic In "Most Homophobic Campaign" in Nation; Incumbent U.S. Rep. Fred Upton Encourages Anti-Gay Attacks," October 1, 2020
The Cook Political Report, 2020 House Race Ratings, October 8, 2020
The Detroit News, Melissa Nann Burke, "Hoadley bid aims to make history as Michigan's first gay congressman," September 30, 2020
Brittany Bodenheimer, Communications Director, Hoadley for Congress, email exchange, October 13, 2020
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