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Outburst at AOC Town Hall Was Staged


Quick Take

A political group took credit for planting a woman who espoused “eating babies” to address climate change at a recent town hall event hosted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But some have still misrepresented the woman as “AOC’s crazy supporter.”


Full Story 

A bizarre moment at an Oct. 3 town hall event with Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was seemingly designed for virality.

Nearly an hour and a half into the event in Queens, New York, a woman stood up and proclaimed that, due to climate change, “we only have a few months left.” Her proposed solution? “We got to start eating babies.”

The exchange was instantly shared on social media and was shown the same night on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” A reporter for the conservative website the Daily Wire shared the video on Twitter, characterizing the episode as “one of Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents loses her mind over climate change.”

President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., shared that tweet, writing: “Seems like a normal AOC supporter to me.” The president then responded to his son’s tweet, calling Ocasio-Cortez a “Wack Job!”

But it was quickly revealed to be a political stunt. The same night, a political action committee that supports Trump — and whose website refers to global warming as “population reduction, not science” — publicly took credit.

Thanks, that was us,” the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee wrote in a tweet, adding: “Satire is always the best.”

Also, a LaRouche PAC-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate in New Jersey, Daniel Burke, posted a statement from the organization to his campaign Facebook page on Oct. 4, saying a “volunteer for LaRouche PAC committed a prank against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after thinking about the actual implications of the Extinction Rebellion and the Green New Deal.”

In the days since, though, some have continued to share the video, misrepresenting it as if a genuine moment. On Oct. 4, the comedian Terrence K. Williams — a Trump supporter who recently spoke at a White House event alongside the president — posted a video of himself reacting to footage from the town hall under the caption, “AOC’s CRAZY SUPPORTER.”

In the video, the woman is heard saying: “We only have a few months left. I love that you support the Green Deal, but it’s not getting rid of fossil fuel. It’s not going to solve the problem fast enough … I think your next campaign slogan has to be this, ‘We got to start eating babies.’ We don’t have enough time. There’s too much CO2.”

She also removed a jacket to reveal a T-shirt that read, “Save the Planet, Eat the Children.”

In his video, Williams tells his viewers at one point: “AOC, this is what you are creating right here. AOC, this is all you.”

At no point does Williams acknowledge that the outburst was staged and that the woman was not a “supporter” of Ocasio-Cortez. Many who commented on his video said they were appalled by the woman’s remarks, and suggested she was representative of Ocasio-Cortez supporters. (One user wrote, “Look I don’t follow politics to [sic] much. Thanks for the posting. But seriously AOC is a lunatic and obviously her supporters are as well.”)

The video — which continues to attract viewers — has received more than 457,000 views and has been shared over 18,000 times. In an Oct. 7 Facebook post about the same reaction video, Williams reposted his video, urged “TWITTER LEGAL TEAM” to leave him alone, and wrote that he had “criticized AOC’s response to her looney supporter saying we should eat babies to stop climate change.”

Another Facebook page also posted a clip of the woman’s outburst on Oct. 3 with the caption: “This is REAL. These people are out there. One of AOC’s constituents, absolutely CRAZED over climate change hysteria, advocated for eating babies at tonight’s town hall meeting.”

Ocasio-Cortez has prioritized the issue of climate change during her months in Congress. One of her early proposals was a nonbinding resolution outlining goals for a “Green New Deal.” We should note that Ocasio-Cortez has not suggested that “we only have a few months left” due to climate change, as the woman at the event declared.

Ocasio-Cortez didn’t directly respond to the woman’s comments about eating babies. Instead, she said: “We need to treat the climate crisis with the urgency that it does present; luckily we have more than a few months. We do need to hit net-zero [greenhouse gas emissions] in several years. But I think we all need to understand that there are a lot of solutions that we have and that we can pursue and that if we act in a positive way, there is space for hope.”

In a tweet after the town hall, the congresswoman said, “At one point I was concerned there was a woman in crisis & want to ensure we treat the situation compassionately.” She also said, This person may have been suffering from a mental condition and it’s not okay that the right-wing is mocking her and potentially make her condition or crisis worse.”

The next day, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that the episode was orchestrated, referring to the woman as a “Trump supporter.” We don’t know the woman’s identity, but as we said, the group that took credit for the staged incident supports Trump and has called the performance an act of satire.

Some on Twitter also pointed out that the woman can be seen in a video about stopping the “fascist green movement” that the LaRouche PAC posted in September.

We reached out to the LaRouche PAC to ask for more information on the stunt and the woman at the center of it, but we did not receive a response.

The political action committee’s namesake is Lyndon LaRouche, an eight-time presidential candidate who died earlier this year. LaRouche had once referred to global warming as a “scientific fraud.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Lyndon LaRouche PAC (@larouchepac). “LaRouchePAC trolls AOC, AOC doesn’t rule out eating babies. #EatTheBabies.” Twitter. 3 Oct 2019.

Lyndon LaRouche PAC (@larouchepac). “Thanks, that was us. Malthusianism isn’t new, Jonathan Swift can tell you that. Satire is always the best.” Twitter. 3 Oct 2019.

Remarks by President Trump at Young Black Leadership Summit 2019.” White House. 4 Oct 2019.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Town Hall Meeting.” C-SPAN. 3 Oct 2019.