Democrats are expressing outrage over a web ad launched yesterday targeting Democrat Janice Hahn in California's upcoming 36th District special election. (Warning: the ad contains extremely offensive images and language.)
The web commercial, which claims to be paid for by a new group called "Turn Right USA," accuses Hahn of giving gang members money so they can "rape and kill again." The ad features a faceless blonde, white woman (Hahn is blonde and white) grinding on a stripper poll and getting bills stuffed into her shorts, as two black men portraying gangsters sing: "Give me your cash, b*tch, so we can shoot up the street. Give me your cash, b*tch, so we can buy some more heat."
Hahn, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman, employed reformed gang members to participate in Los Angeles gang intervention programs.
The creator of the ad has identified himself as filmmaker and recent attack ad creator Ladd Ehlinger, who writes on his personal website that the ad simply makes him laugh:
The ad's funny. It makes me laugh. So if, for some reason, it's pulled by youTube, a thousand will be launched in its place all over Algorez' Internetz. Because you're only drawing more attention to your past of supporting criminals, Janice, and forcing policemen out of their jobs for doing their duty. So there you go. Claim victimhood all you like, but how many people were victimized by your coddling? There's a reason Mayor Villaraigosa took the program away from you. He's a Democrat. So are you. Think about it.
Ehlinger has been trying to establish himself as the viral political ad man. He gained some notoriety in 2010 for a Dale Peterson for Alabama Agricultural Commissioner ad that showed Peterson calling people "dummies" and for a 2010 ad on behalf of another candidate that portrayed then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a wicked witch.
Since Turn Right USA is an independent group, it appears the Republican running in California's 36th District race--advertising executive Craig Huey--has no direct connection to the commercial. But regardless, Democrats are calling on Huey to address the offensive spot.
"Craig Huey must condemn this offensive and sexist ad, and demand that the ad makers immediately take it down," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Deputy Executive Director Jennifer Crider said in a statement Tuesday night. "This ad does not reflect the values of California's hardworking women and men. Craig Huey's silence should send a chilling message to our mothers, sisters, and daughters that this kind of outrageous and sexist material is tolerated."
The Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman called on Huey to "repudiate this ad and its content" and accused perennial candidate G. Rick Marshall of being behind the PAC.
"An online ad, released by Turn Right USA, depicts women as strippers, uses African American actors to depict gangbangers, and features lyrics such as 'Give us your cash b*tch, so we can shoot up the street!," Bauman said. "This exploitation of women and African Americans to ridicule Janice Hahn's campaign and to suggestively portray young African Americans as criminals is an insult to women and African Americans in Los Angeles and across America."
"This ad is incredibly offensive and sexist to all women," Hahn campaign manager Dave Jacobson told TPM. "The producer of this ad should be ashamed of himself and Craig Huey should be ashamed to have this kind of thing produced on his behalf."
As we saw in the last election, attack ads produced by third-parties are the way of the future.
The Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling made super PACs such as "Turn Right USA" possible. These committees are technically operated independent of candidates' campaigns and are permitted to raise unlimited amounts of money for attack ads and other uses without having to disclose their donors.
Hahn is favored to win California's 36th District Democratic-leaning seat in the July 12 runoff. Huey's second-place win in May's all-party "jungle" primary was a surprise to many who believed two Democrats were most likely to emerge from the race.
Hahn received an endorsement Monday from former President Bill Clinton, who cast Hahn as the answer to "right-wing extremism."
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