A rep of Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign office is under fire for old (and not so old) homophobic and racist tweets.
Ashlee Marie Preston is a Los Angeles-based transgender activist and paid surrogate for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. Preston was featured in Warren’s campaign video prepared for the CNN/HRC Equality Town Hall this past Thursday. And it seems her appearance in that video was enough to garner some unwanted attention, according to the Los Angeles Blade.
Internet users decided to dig through Preston’s social media accounts and uncovered several controversial posts. An article published by LawandCrime.com provided many tweets now being used to condemn Preston. This includes a tweet from December 11, 2010, in which Preston wrote, “Latino and Asian businesses need 2 stop being rude & f**n disrespectful, & I kno its A LOT to ask in CA but speak f**n English 2* #yahisaidit.”
Colin Kalmbacher, the attorney who wrote the LawandCrime article, then shared a few tweets with homophobic mentalities such as a April 7, 2011 tweet saying, “That is thee last time I help that f****t f**ker….he’s bringing ME problems Truman help him.”
Then a tweet from two weeks later, April 27, 2011, reads, “I LUV gay men but THIS county clerk at window G is a mahf****n f****t wit it…hes bald but rokn jewels, acrylic nails,&silk scarves #andshit.”
In response to the article and people complaining about her online, Preston released an apology online. Though she notes how the article is “a political play,” she apologized and simultaneously blamed her then-addiction to methamphetamine.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and deeply apologize to those I’ve offended or hurt,” she wrote. “I also apologize to those indirectly impacted by these developments.” She says she has been clean and sober for over 7 ½ years and has learned “how to make amends when I’m wrong and to take complete accountability for my actions.”
But once the doors toward internet ridicule and investigation open, people are bound to keep digging. Twitter user DSA Swarthykin uncovered a more recent tweet showing Preston with similar vitriol to her earlier posts.
“I’d beat the dog s*** of out you; furry slipper wearing a** f*** boy,” Preston tweeted on September 8, 2018. “IRL I’d smash your f***ing head in like a can of A&W Root Beer–But ima fall back and let you keep pretending for the internet…d*** rider.”
This extremely violent homophobic rhetoric from an official @ewarren surrogate is unacceptable. Elizabeth Warren's continued refusal to condemn this speaks volumes. Prance around in all the rainbow feather boas you want. Once a Reagan voter always a Reagan voter. pic.twitter.com/M9Ansh9zeo
— DSA Otherkin Caucus ❼ (@QueenInYeIIow) October 14, 2019
It seems some are also mad at Preston for falsely alleging that Warren’s political rival Sen. Bernie Sanders hadn’t attended an LGBTQ event since the 1970s.
In response to these increased critiques of her social media presence, Preston locked her Twitter account over the weekend and has deleted many of the tweets in question. Meanwhile, the Warren campaign has yet to comment on the situation.
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Taking accountability for the past, staying rooted in the present, and absorbing lessons for the future. . . . . At the height of my meth addiction (8/9 years ago) I made a series of racially insensitive and homophobic tweets. I wasn’t out yet, and was dealing with internalized transphobia while homeless in a neighborhood where I felt culturally inferior. I’d stay up for days on end, tweeting from an impaired conscious—while shadow-boxing (via tweet) with anyone who made me feel less than. . . . Although those tweets were resurfaced as a political play at those who don’t deserve to be involved; I take full responsibility for my actions and deeply apologize to those I’ve offended or hurt. I also apologize to those indirectly impacted by these developments. At over 7 1/2 years clean and sober; I’ve learned to make amends when I’m wrong and to take complete accountability for my actions. I didn’t have the education, information, mentorship, or cultural competence I have now. I’m also not strung out on drugs and have a clear heart and mind, today. My life in recovery has been a living amends in and of itself; and I fully intend to keep fighting on the frontline for the rights of ALL marginalized people—as I’ve proactively done over the years and present day. While I deeply regret the past; It’s a poignant reminder of how far I’ve come in my healing, growth and personal development—and why maintaining my recovery is of the utmost importance. . . . . . My life has always been an open book and I’ve never shied away from any details of my journey—no matter how unsettling, unflattering, or exposed they make me feel. My imperfections, shortcomings, and connection to vulnerability are exactly what my platform was built on; and I fully lean into the discomfort of growth. Again, I apologize for my past actions; and am thankful to those who know exactly who I am—and choose to love me through this moment. And to the people who dug up those tweets; thank you. I mean that with full sincerity. This gave me the opportunity to continue evolving; while clearing out the residual wreckage of my past. We can’t heal what we don’t reveal; but I’m prepared to delve deeper.
Certainly, Preston’s tweets are an unsightly look, but it is true that their reappearance on the internet is purely based on political motive. Though, does that mean they shouldn’t be acknowledged? Should we let angry Twitter users influence our political choices? Or, should we consider other factors at play?
All important questions to ask as the 2020 President election grows closer.