One rogue New York Post employee (or former employee?) had quite the morning on Thursday. After a string of disturbing headlines and tweets, which included one that called for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to be raped and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to be assassinated, the Post claimed they were hacked. Hours later, they said it was actually an employee who was responsible for the posts.
Hochul, who serves as New York’s first female governor, has since responded to the violent headlines that targeted herself, Ocasio-Cortez, and other elected leaders, including President Joe Biden, by demanding answers and transparency from the Post. “The New York Post has long fostered an ugly, toxic conversation on their front pages and social accounts, but these posts are more disgusting and vile than usual,” Hochul’s campaign said in a statement, posted by her press secretary Jen Goodman. “The New York Post needs to immediately explain how this reprehensible content was made public. While the Post has made its preferences very clear in the New York Governor’s race, there is no room for this violent, sexist rhetoric in our politics. We demand answers.”
The headline that targeted Hochul, bizarrely attached to a run-of-the-mill holiday gift guide, read “Zeldin: I will rape and batter Hochul’s sorry ass pussy.” Zeldin is referring to Hochul’s opponent, Republican Lee Zeldin.
The headline about Ocasio-Cortez read: “We must assassinate AOC for America.” Other headlines spewed naked racism: “Zeldin: Eric Adams is NYC’s fried chicken eating monkey” and “Gov. Abbott: I will order border patrol to start slaughtering illegals.” And another, which was misattributed to conservative columnist Miranda Devine, called for the killing of Hunter and Joe Biden. All of the headlines appeared to push racist, sexist, violent language falsely coming from Republicans.
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Shortly after the posts went up, around 9 a.m., the tabloid tweeted that it had been hacked and was “investigating the cause,” eventually releasing a statement revealing it’d been an employee: “The New York Post’s investigation indicates that the unauthorized conduct was committed by an employee, and we are taking appropriate action. This morning, we immediately removed the vile and reprehensible content from our website and social media accounts.”
The Post has yet to respond directly to the Hochul campaign’s statements. All of the fake headlines were pretty disturbing, but the one about Hochul, specifically, reflected the prevalence of rape and death threats targeting women politicians. Last year, Axios reported that threats attacking women politicians, in particular, are often more graphic, and play a role in discouraging women from running for office.