The picture was shared to Instagram with the caption:
The picture was shared to Instagram with the caption: "Break me off a piece of that". Picture: Instagram

Teens ‘grope’ pollie in ‘repulsive’ photo

A viral picture of a group of young Republican men "groping and choking" a cardboard cutout of a high-profile female politician has caused outcry in the US.

The picture, which was taken in Kentucky over the weekend during a political event, shows a group of seven young men posing with the life-size image of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and pretending to fondle her.

The men are all supporters of high-profile Republican senator Mitch McConnell, and in the disturbing picture one can be seen pretending to choke the 29-year-old Democrat's neck.

Another simulates kissing her, while others mockingly point or pose with their thumbs down.

The photograph was originally shared on Instagram and Facebook with the caption: "Break me off a piece of that."

The picture went viral on social media. Picture: Instagram
The picture went viral on social media. Picture: Instagram

Yesterday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez hit back, sharing the photo on Twitter with the caption: "Hey @senatemajldr - these young men look like they work for you. Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch? Thanks."

The "repulsive" image soon went viral, with countless social media users slamming the men's "disgraceful behaviour" as "beyond disturbing".

"The only way #NaziGOP and their #bigot base can belittle her is through objectification and simulating sex acts with her picture," one Twitter user posted.

"OK . what are their real names? In the very least women should be aware of their attitudes towards sexual violence against women," another wrote, while another simply added: "To the mothers and fathers of these kids: You are failing."

But predictably, others fired back, claiming it was just an example of "harmless fun".

"No, it's just a group of young men having fun. Relax, no one wants a piece of you," one posted, while another said: "I'm sorry, I laughed, calm down, cupcake."

In a statement published by The Independent, McConnell campaign team spokesman Kevin Golden said the teens were "high schoolers" and not formal staff members.

But he said Mr McConnell "in no way condones any aggressive, suggestive or demeaning act toward life-size cardboard cutouts of any gender".

" … it's incredible that the national media has sought to once again paint a target on their backs rather than report real and significant news in our country," he said.

However, the outcry is just the latest scandal involving Mr McConnell.

Over the weekend, his official campaign Twitter account posted a picture of a field of cardboard mock gravestones - including one that bore the name of his female Democratic arch rival Amy McGrath.

The picture was accompanied by the caption: "The Grim Reaper of Socialism".

Mr McConnell has also been called out for failing to call a Senate vote on a gun reform bill that was already passed in February in the days after the horror twin massacres in El Paso and Dayton.

On Saturday, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 and injuring a further 26.

Less than 24 hours after the first tragedy unfolded, another mass shooting took place in Dayton, Ohio, leaving nine people dead and 27 injured.

America's mass shooting tally for 2019 has now reached 251, according to Gun Violence Archive.

Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au

 

 



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