A Scripps College student claims she’s being bullied for a photo that she posted of herself alongside Vice President Mike Pence — with some saying it “constitutes direct violence and oppression against marginalized groups.”
McKenzie Deutsch, an incoming junior at the private California women’s school, described the online harassment in a column for the Claremont Independent on Sunday.
“Shortly after posting the photo, I began receiving vicious comments and private messages accusing me of not caring about LGBTQ rights and attacking me for getting anywhere near the Vice-President,” she wrote. “Close friends and distant acquaintances alike lashed out in fury, subjecting me to lectures, rants, and name-calling — all while ignoring the photo’s plainly apolitical context.”
In the picture, Deutsch can be seen standing alongside Pence and Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers — whom she interned with this summer.
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“A few weeks ago…I saw how personally my peers take politics upon sharing a photo of me standing with Vice-President Mike Pence and Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers,” Deutsch said. “Knowing my Facebook audience was politically diverse, I made no political comments. Instead, I shared my excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to intern for Rodgers — the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress — and to interact with such impactful and important people in my job. The photo should not have caused any trouble. But my Scripps College and Claremont peers begged to differ.”
Before sharing the image online, Deutsch said she had been worried about expressing her personal views “without being shunned” by her Scripps College classmates and professors alike.
“So, I did not,” she said. “I kept my head down and did my best to avoid sparking controversy.”
Scripps has become infamous for its political correctness over the years, with several incidents occurring on campus.
In March 2016, a dean at the liberal arts school scolded students after one of their Mexican-American peers woke up to find “#trump2016” scrawled on a whiteboard that was hanging on her dorm room door.
“According to my peers, taking a photo with Vice-President Pence is anything but neutral,” Deutsch said. “In fact, it constitutes direct violence and oppression against marginalized groups.”
One of Deutsch’s biggest critics accused her of “ignoring the plights of marginalized people to achieve personal gain” — saying she was a person who “smiled with [their] oppressors.”
Another person chided her for standing next to someone who is “a threat to human rights everywhere.”
Others turned to mockery, inquiring: “Did you manage to ask him why he thinks women are second-class citizens?” and “How many LBGTQ folks do you need to help send to conversion therapy in exchange for reproductive rights from Pence?”
Then there were those who resorted to name-calling.
“A classmate simply commented, ‘Bitch,’” Deutsch recalled. “Many others ‘liked’ these comments, endorsing this shameless harassment.”
In closing, Deutsch blasted the her fellow students at Scripps — saying it’s important to engage with individuals “across the aisle.”
“How did we get to the point where taking a photo with someone is an act of violence?” she asks. “How will we ever be able to have adult conversations if no one is ever willing to listen to those who have opposing philosophies? How can we coexist when we write off our political opponents — as well as those who dare to take photos with them — as morally bankrupt?”
Deutsch added, “No one seems to remember what their teachers have taught them since Kindergarten: Be respectful of others. Apparently, when it comes to those with whom they disagree, many of my peers are only capable of disrespectful engagement…This is not as it should be. We need a genuine dialogue — now more than ever.”