Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has condemned her treatment at the hands of right-wing media after one website re-posted a fake nude photo of her in a bath.
The congresswoman called the Daily Caller’s actions “completely disgusting” after it published a story about the image, which in fact shows a different woman.
The site, founded by Fox News television host Tucker Carlson, “refused to indicate [the picture] was fake in the title” of the story, the newly-elected New York Democrat tweeted.
“GOP have been losing their mind + frothing at the mouth all week, so this was just a matter of time,” she added. “Women in leadership face more scrutiny. Period.”
She also claimed that a Daily Mail reporter had been “going to my boyfriend’s relative’s homes+offering them cash for ‘stories’”, adding: "Completely disgusting behaviour from Conservative outlets."
The Independent has contacted the Mail‘s parent company for comment.
The picture was originally shared on Reddit and 4Chan with overlaid text claiming rising party star Ms Ocasio-Cortez had posted it to Instagram.
The Daily Caller has since changed the headline of its story from “Here’s the photo some people described as a nude selfie of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” to ”Anthony Weiner mistress stands up for AOC after evil internet trolls spread fake nude photo”.
It had, however, accurately described the image’s provenance in the body of its story.
According to a report by Motherboard, amateur sleuths on a foot fetish website had already debunked claims that the woman’s feet in the picture – and her breasts reflected in the bath tap – belonged to Ms Ocasio-Cortez.
The toes of the woman in the picture do not match those seen in other publicly-available images of the congresswoman, users said.
In fact, they belonged to a woman called Sydney Leathers, Motherboard reported. “That pic is a few years old and now reaffirms my current stance of no longer posting feet pics unless dudes pay me for it,” she told the site.
Ms Leathers, an activist and adult webcam performer, rose to prominence after her sexual phone messages with former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner became public in 2013.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez was elected in November after toppling a veteran Democrat in the primaries. Joe Crowley had held his seat for 20 years before losing out to the newcomer who rode a wave of publicity as one of a crop of diverse, first-time candidates.
She supports abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and the creation of a universal healthcare system. So far this year Ms Ocasio-Cortez has asserted that Donald Trump is “no question” a racist, and beaten back a manufactured controversy over a video of her dancing while in university.