Representatives for Scott Wagner, a Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate, shared a transphobic meme about Caitlyn Jenner in a group chat with top campaign officials.
On Thursday, 6 September, Ray Zaborney, a well-known political consultant with the GOP-leaning firm retained to handle Wagner’s social media accounts, texted a meme of Caitlyn Jenner.
The meme mocks Jenner’s transition as well as Nike’s Just Do It campaign featuring black athletes like Colin Kaepernick.
‘Believe in something. Even if it means cutting your dick off,’ the meme reads.
Zaborney sent the meme to four people: Jason High, Wagner’s campaign manager; Jenise Harris, the campaign’s finance director; Shauna Boscaccy, policy director; and a reporter for Billy Penn, who was an unintended recipient.
The day before the meme was sent, the Billy Penn reporter, Max Marin, was in contact with Zaborney for an unrelated story about the Wagner campaign.
In a subsequent private message to Marin, Zaborney apologized for the meme and offered to share ‘on background’ information in exchange for the reporter ‘forgetting’ Zaborney ‘sent that meme.’
Instead, Marin decided the meme was newsworthy and broke the story.
‘Anyone questioning my commitment to diversity or the LGBT community obviously doesn’t know me very well,’ Zaborney responded in a statement.
‘I am a passionate believer in equality for all and have long been an advocate for marriage equality and ending discrimination in all forms against the LGBTQ community. I’m proud of my advocacy and proud of my efforts and will continue to stand for equality.’
This is not the first time Wagner and his campaign have been in hot water with the LGBTI community.
Last month, Wagner made controversial statements at a town hall meeting addressing bathroom bills.
‘It’s real simple: If you’re born with male plumbing, you use the men’s room. If you’re born with female plumbing, use the ladies’ room. Period,’ he said.
Neither Wagner nor anyone on his campaign could be reached for comment about the meme.