Politics

AOC Blames ‘Internet Culture’ for Bernie Bros’ Harassment

Supporters' activity 'is difficult to control,' says Sanders surrogate

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Wednesday attributed Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) supporters' online attacks to toxic internet culture.

"I think internet culture can often be very toxic," Ocasio-Cortez said during an interview on ABC's The View. "I think that to a certain extent we have to always reject hate, reject vitriol, and denounce that kind of behavior…. We also know the amount of anonymous activity that happens on the internet and that simply is difficult—it is difficult to control. When you have like a Twitter handle with a bunch of numbers on it with two followers that are lobbing vitriol at you, we don't know where that comes from."

The View cohost Meghan McCain had asked Ocasio-Cortez how she felt about supporting a candidate who is tied to such vicious online attacks.

"It is by far, of anything I have done in my entire life, the most violent, most misogynistic, the most sexist, the most harmful—my mother has cried over doctored photos Bernie bros have sent me," McCain said. "And I’m just one story. He has a real problem and I don't think he's doing enough to tamper it down…. How do you feel that he's attached to this deeply misogynistic and, I would go so far as to say, violent sector of people?"

When McCain asked whether Ocasio-Cortez thought Sanders has done enough to try and stop the online abuse, the freshman congresswoman said the Sanders campaign sends out messaging emails calling for good behavior.

"Yeah, I think he works very hard," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We send out messaging emails and you know what, I've been subject to a lot of this stuff from all sorts of pockets from the internet."

"He's got to do more," cohost Whoopi Goldberg told Ocasio-Cortez. "He's got to stand up and say it every day if he needs to: ‘Stop this, we're not accepting it. It's not good for us.'"

Criticism of Sanders's supporters has become a main line of attack in the lead-up to the Nevada debate Wednesday night. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has argued Sanders is responsible for controlling his supporters' behavior after her accusation of sexism failed to halt his success at the polls.