A college student claims she’s being bullied at school after she posted a picture of herself next to Vice President Mike Pence on Facebook.
McKenzie Deutsch, an incoming junior at Scripps College, wrote about the harassment she’s been the target of in a column for the Claremount Independent on Sunday. She said she was nervous about being “shunned” by her peers for sharing the photo, which also includes Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers whom Deutsch interned for this summer, but she posted it anyway.
While, in the past she would keep her “head down” and “avoid sparking controversy,” Deutsch took a chance, and her fears were quickly realized.
“A few weeks ago, however, 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,” she wrote. “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.”
However, according to her fellow students, “taking a photo with Vice-President Pence is anything but neutral. In fact, it constitutes direct violence and oppression against marginalized groups.” Deutsch added that she instantly became the target of outrage online.
“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.”
According to Deutsch, she was accused of “ignoring the plights of marginalized people to achieve personal gain,” called a person who “smiled with [their] oppressors” and asked why she would stand next to someone who is “a threat to human rights everywhere.”
The student ended her piece by asking, “How did we get here? How did we get to the point where taking a photo with someone is an act of violence?” She blasted her classmates for failing to see the value in one of their peers working for a member of Congress and argued that their “lecturing about diversity apparently does not extend to diversity of thought.” Lastly, she called for “genuine dialogue” and challenged her peers to “engage in civil discourse and allow respect and reason to prevail.”