Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar posted an edited anime scene on Twitter on Sunday evening that depicts him killing New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The “Attack on Titan” spoof, entitled “Attack of Immigrants,” shows an anime character with Gosar’s face edited on it killing a giant superimposed with Ocasio-Cortez’s face. Gosar shared the video on his official Twitter account, where it had 2.6 million views at press time.
Twitter’s rules and policies prohibit users from threatening “violence against an individual or a group of people,” as well as the “glorification of violence.” While statements that wish harm or make vague threats may not necessarily fall within those boundaries, the platform may enforce them under its abusive behavior or hateful conduct policies. The platform did not respond to a request for comment at press time.
The full clip, which is 1 minute and 32 seconds long, splices footage of Gosar, immigration officials, migrants, and former President Donald Trump with clips from the anime. Gosar, a Republican, has been a vocal supporter of Trump and has described January 6 Capitol rioters as “peaceful patriots.” He falsely stated in an interview with Reuters that he believes voter fraud led to former President Trump losing the 2020 election.
Since the video was posted, members of congress including Ocasio-Cortez, have responded. California Rep. Ted Lieu said in a tweet that this was “sick behavior” from Gosar, writing, “In any workplace in America, if a coworker made an anime video killing another coworker, that person would be fired.”
Ocasio-Cortez quote-tweeted Lieu’s response and wrote, “So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me.”
Tagging House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, she wrote that Gosar would “face no consequences” for the video because McCarthy “cheers him on with excuses.”
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 9, 2021
“Attack on Titan” is a Japanese manga series written by author Hajime Isayama that exploded in popularity when it was adapted into an anime television series in 2013. The story takes place in a world in which a militaristic society, believing itself to be the last vestiges of humanity, lives within the confines of three concentric walls designed to keep out titans, or giant humanoid monsters that eat humans for sport. Gosar’s edited video parodies the anime series’ first opening theme.
The series has been criticized in the past for appearing to espouse antisemitic conspiracy theories and its tackling of fascist themes, as Vice reported. Hajime Isayama has also drawn criticism for taking inspiration for a character in the series from an Imperial Japanese general who acted as a cavalry commander in the Sino-Japanese war, Polygon reported.
Political interpretations of the series vary, with some saying it condemns fascist and racist ideology. But, as The New Republic reported, some members of the alt-right have embraced the show. In some interpretations that predominately follow a subversive plot twist, they see the show as endorsing white supremacy.
In the video Gosar shared, his face is superimposed onto the protagonist of the series, who is called Eren Yaeger. In the anime, Yaegar vows to exterminate the titans after they kill his mother and destroy his home.
The video shows footage of migrants attempting to wade through water is edited with blood splatters on the screen, before showing what appears to be an MS13 gang member, as Newsweek reported. Words like “drugs,” “crime,” “poverty,” “money,” “gangs,” “violence,” and “trafficking” appear on-screen. MS13, which is also known as Mara Salvatrucha, was an international crime gang founded by immigrants from El Salvador in California, as the BBC reported.
Gosar, as Yaegar, kills Ocasio-Cortez by stabbing her in the neck. In the closing moments of the clip, he approaches a second “titan” with his blades drawn. This time, the “titan” has current President Joe Biden’s face.
Other Republicans, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, are also edited into the clip.
Representatives for Gosar, Ocasio-Cortez, and Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
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