Republicans and other anti-grooming activists are seething after a photo resurfaced of Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman's family posing with a controversial anime character best known for enslaving a child.
The photo, which Fetterman posted on Twitter in April 2019, shows the candidate's wife and three children posing with an exceedingly large man in a creepy demon mask and long black cloak. Experts familiar with the anime genre tell the Washington Free Beacon the masked individual was portraying the character Elias Ainsworth from the Japanese manga series The Ancient Magus' Bride.
Fetterman claims to have been in Blair County, Pa., at the time the photo was taken at the Tekko anime convention in Pittsburgh. Nevertheless, the fact that he would even allow his children to be exposed to a character as creepy and problematic as Elias Ainsworth raised serious questions about his parenting.
Blog posts reviewed by the Free Beacon suggest the series is incredibly problematic due to how it depicts the relationship between Ainsworth, "a seven-foot-tall humanoid with an animal skull for a head," and Chise Hatori, the 15-year-old orphan he buys at a slave action in London for five million pounds. According to a listicle published on the Comic Book Resources website, this is one of five reasons why "Chise and Eilas are [not] the perfect couple."
A scathing review posted on tumblr.com awarded the show a score of 3/10 despite acknowledging there was "so much to love" about the anime series. "Chise and Elias could have been terrific characters in their own right but their relationship is marred by their creepy creators' bad writing," wrote tumblr user juneboba. "So many things Elias says reeked of things predators actually say to their victims and romanticizing it is gross. He even admits outright that he's grooming Chise and 'raising' her to be perfect for his use."
The reviewer was especially put off by the fact that Elias kept "invading [Chise's] privacy and trying to touch and bathe her without her permission," noting that Elias's character "understood that what he was doing to a child was morally reprehensible" yet was portrayed as having "saved" Chise by purchasing her at auction and making her his child bride. "That's not how human trafficking works and glorifying it is despicable," juneboba wrote.
Fetterman's decision to glorify the despicable character, months after taking office as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, is the latest in a series of scandals plaguing the state's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. He was widely criticized, for example, for holding an innocent black jogger at gunpoint in 2013. Fetterman has refused to apologize for his racially charged vigilantism. The candidate suffered a nearly fatal stroke in May after repeatedly ignoring his doctor's advice and has rarely ventured out on the campaign trail since then. Video evidence suggests Fetterman is nearly as incapable as President Joe Biden when it comes to speaking in coherent sentences.