10/10/2020

‘Words matter, and can have consequences for safety.’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opened up about death threats on Twitter following a troubling video from a minor league baseball team. 
The freshman congresswoman took to Twitter to level criticism at the team after the Fresno Grizzlies showed a video on their jumbotron on Memorial Day that compared Ocasio-Cortez to dictators Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un. 
What people dont (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire.
Ive had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (its always men) who want to kill me. https://t.co/hiYbPghad7
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 28, 2019
I dont even get to see all of them. Just the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling.
It happens whenever Fox gets particularly aggressive + hateful, too. Young interns have to constantly hear hateful messages (far beyond disagreement) from ppl we dont even rep.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 28, 2019
All of this is to say that words matter, and can have consequences for safety.
For those who believe in free speech: whose free speech do you believe in?
Bc some folks using free speech to defend racism are also supporting folks passing laws to allow running over protesters.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 28, 2019
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The video, titled “Reagan – Memorial Day Tribute – We Are Americans,” was posted to YouTube on May 21 and has already been viewed over 300,000 times. Using a voiceover of Ronald Reagan, the clip is pretty boilerplate patriotic jingoism. 
Until, that is, it takes its shot at AOC at the three-minute mark, intercutting photos of Kim Jong Un, Fidel Castro, AOC, and ANTIFA protesters as Reagan rails against “the enemies of freedom.”
You can watch the video below. 
Making matters worse is the fact that this could have been easily avoided. According to the team, the reason a video that calls a sitting congresswoman one of the “enemies of freedom” was allowed to air is because someone simply didn’t watch it all the way through. 
The team said as much in a statement that it tweeted out late Monday night. 
We’re embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first. We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) in addition to our fans, community and those we hurt. It was a mistake and we will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.
Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) May 28, 2019
Adding an extra layer of irony to the entire saga, the Grizzlies are a minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Major League Baseball team based right in the nation’s capital. 
There’s no word yet if the Grizzlies will face any further punishment for airing the video. We’ve reached out to Minor League Baseball for comment.