Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacks The Daily Caller for publishing 'a fake nude photo of me'

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • A photo of a woman’s feet in a bathtub went viral earlier this week after Reddit users claimed they belonged to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • The rumour was quickly debunked, but The Daily Caller published a headline that was not clear the photo was actually of another woman.
  • Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at the conservative outlet on Thursday morning, calling its publication “completely disgusting behaviour.”

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked the conservative news site The Daily Caller on Wednesday for publishing what she called “a fake nude photo of me” under a misleading headline.

The photo went viral this week after people circulated it on Reddit, claiming it showed Ocasio-Cortez. It shows a pair of feet in a bathtub, but a blurred reflection of a nude female torso is also visible.

Motherboard on Monday reported that the photo was actually of the political activist Sydney Leathers, who told the outlet the picture shows her body and “is a few years old.”

The Daily Caller on Monday reported Motherboard’s story under the headline “Here’s The Photo Some People Described As A Nude Selfie of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

Though it is accurate to say “some people described” the photo as showing Ocasio-Cortez, the headline did not acknowledge that those people had already been found to be wrong.

Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at the outlet on Wednesday night, slamming The Daily Caller’s publication as “completely disgusting behaviour.”

She tweeted: “For those out of the loop, Republicans began to circulate a fake nude photo of me. The @DailyCaller reposted it (!) and refused to indicate it was fake in the title as well.”

“Completely disgusting behaviour from Conservative outlets,” she added. “No wonder they defended Kavanaugh so fiercely.”

The Daily Caller has since changed its headline to “Anthony Weiner Mistress Stands Up for AOC After Evil Internet Trolls Spread Fake Nude Photo,” referring to Leathers, who was linked to the disgraced New York congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandals uncovered in 2016. AOC are Ocasio-Cortez’s initials.

The outlet also added a correction at the bottom of the article, which said: “An earlier version of the headline for this story made an inaccurate implication. The story has since been updated for accuracy.”

A cached version of the article with the original headline can be found here.

The Daily Caller responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet shortly afterwards, tweeting: “As soon as editors noticed the twitter headline, we rapidly had it deleted and fixed.”

“We regret the error, as the intent was to inform our audience that a fake image was circulating online,” the outlet added.

Ocasio-Cortez slammed The Daily Caller’s response as “not an apology,” adding: “You’ve been posting hysteric, misrepresentative articles about me nonstop – many within 24h.”

The Daily Caller’s editor-in-chef, Geoffrey Ingersoll, also told Business Insider in an email: “I had the headline corrected and updated early in the day, as soon as I noticed it. Obviously an eager editor made a misjudgment as to the framing.”

Ingersoll added that the story “is about how Ocasio-Cortez’s enemies … who [reporter] Betsy [Rothstein] describes as both horrible and evil – conjured this fake nude and spread it online.”

Ocasio-Cortez had her first day as the congressional representative of New York’s 14th district on January 3. She told INSIDER’s Eliza Relman in a recent interview that she writes all her own tweets but deletes many drafted in anger before publishing them.

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