A long-shot Republican candidate from South Dakota graphically highlighted misogynist abuse she has endured while running for U.S. Senate in wide-ranging news conference.
Annette Bosworth, a Sioux Falls physician, directed her campaign staff to compile a list of the hateful names and slurs she had been called by opponents on blogs and comments sections, and then spray paint them on her own campaign signs.
The candidate then stood before the profane signs, which were displayed from floor to ceiling, to condemn the sexist treatment of women who run for office.
This room is an artistic representation of the atmosphere of this election,” Bosworth said, “and if it feels oppressive or offensive and overwhelming, then the artists have done their job because I asked them: Go to the Internet, Google me and pick a name. Spell it just as it’s spelled on the Internet and represent that on my campaign signs. South Dakota, this is your community, too.”
Bosworth drew national attention after sharing a viral post on her Facebook page comparing food stamp recipients to wild animals, and the South Dakota attorney general is investigating whether she broke the law in her nominating petitions.
Some former employees of her medical practice claims Bosworth owes them back pay, and she agreed to pay more than $14,000 two years ago after she was accused of submitting Medicaid claims for non-covered services for children she treated in Sioux Falls shelters
Bosworth blamed the attacks primarily on “supposedly tolerant liberals,” but she pointed out that women in both parties had been targeted for “misogyny” and abuse.
“The Democrats talk about a war on women, but much of what you see is written by the supposedly tolerant liberals,” she said. “Their message is clear: Conservative women are fair game. If you are a female and a Republican, anything goes.”
She also blasted her fellow Republicans for failing to come to her aid, and then endorsed the Thomas Friedman book, “The World Is Flat.”
“Look at these signs,” she said. “Look at the messages sent by our country. We have a problem, and it’s not being talked about.”
The news conference came a week before the primary election in South Dakota, where Bosworth trails at least two other GOP candidates, and just days after a gunman drove through Isla Vista, California, violently exacting revenge for perceived slights against him by women.
The killer expressed his hatred for women in lengthy video rants and written screeds, and his words and deeds have opened a national dialogue on misogyny and violence.
“The misogyny is real,” Bosworth said. “Go to the shootings in California. Look around. South Dakota is not unique. Our country has a problem.”
She blamed media outlets for allowing some of the hateful comments about her to remain online.
“The strategy behind holding press conferences? I’m trying to give you a chance to redeem yourselves,” Bosworth said.
Watch the entire news conference posted online by the Argus Leader: