Republican Florida congressional candidate Jake Rush issued a statement Tuesday defending his “hobby activities” after SaintPetersBlog published a story detailing what it described as his “bizarre double life” as a live action role player. In his statement, Rush characterised his participation in role playing games featuring vampires and werewolves as part of a lifelong interest in “gaming and theatre,” To prove his point, Rush included a photo of himself as a child wearing a George Washington costume (below) and a more recent picture where he was dressed as “The Flash” (above).
“My undergraduate degree is in the classics, and I have been raised with a deep appreciation for theatre, costumes and art,” said Rush. “All my life, I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination from playing George Washington in elementary school to dressing up as a super hero last Halloween for trick or treaters. Any cursory review of the Internet will show that I have played heroes and villains.”
Rush, who launched his primary challenge to Rep. Ted Yoho last month, was a leading member in a Gainesville, Fl. group called the “Covenant of the Poisoned Absinthe” that was dedicated to playing live action role playing games from White Wolf Gaming’s “World of Darkness” series. Those games feature gothic themes and involve players donning costumes and portraying vampires, werewolves, and other fantastical beings.
Along with his statement, Rush sent out a list detailing his “gaming and theatre experience.” Among other things, the list noted Rush “played Jesus in a play at his church,” “auditioned for a minor part in MacBeth at the Hippodrome Theatre in Gainesville,” was a member of an “improv acting club” at the University of Florida, and once “played George Washington in a school play.” Rush said this experience was an asset when he was a sheriff’s deputy.
“I have never hid nor shied away from disclosing my hobby activities. When I was hired at the Sheriff’s office, I fully disclosed my gaming and theatre background on the application, and these hobbies posed absolutely no problem or raised any flags. In fact, when applying for undercover work, these hobbies were considered an advantage, so much so my shift lieutenant nicknamed me ‘Shakespeare,'” Rush said.
SaintPetersBlog’s story highlighted more lurid aspects of Rush’s role playing activities including photos he posted that the site described as showing “portrayals of bizarre, ritualistic scenes of the occult, book burnings” and a message he wrote discussing sexual acts and drug use. Rush described this as an attempt by his opponents to misrepresent his activities.
“As a practicing Christian, I am deeply offended that the opposing campaign and their supporters would take a gaming and theatre hobby and mischaracterize it,” he said. “The very definition of acting is expressing ideas and thoughts that are not your own, just like I don’t believe I am MacBeth, which I have played, I am none of the characters.”
Rush concluded by accusing Yoho of trying to distract voters.
“Bottom line — There is nothing wrong with being a gamer. It’s kinda nerdy, but North Central Florida deserves a legitimate debate on the issues instead of Ted Yoho’s usual sideshow distractions,” said Rush.
Read Rush’s full statement below.
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