Twitter users pushed the “BoycottABC” hashtag into the social platform’s top trending items on Friday after local affiliates of the network aired an ad from a GOP super PAC that showed a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race MORE (D-N.Y.) being set on fire.
Twitter's trending sidebar showed more than 40,000 tweets had been shared using the hashtag to call for a boycott of ABC after the 30-second ad attacking Ocasio-Cortez aired during the Democratic presidential debate on a number of ABC affiliates, including Washington, D.C-.based WJLA owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The ad was created by New Faces GOP, a political action committee run by Elizabeth Heng, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in California last year.
It opens with a photo of Ocasio-Cortez, with Heng narrating in the background: “This is the face of socialism and ignorance. Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horror of socialism?”
The photo is then set on fire and burns to reveal images of skulls and skeletons.
“My father was minutes from death in Cambodia before a forced marriage saved his life. That’s socialism. Forced obedience. Starvation,” Heng says in the video. “Mine is a face of freedom. My skin is not white. I’m not outrageous, racist or socialist. I’m a Republican.”
The ad has since prompted a wave of backlash online, leading to thousands of calls for a boycott of ABC.
If you’re a surgeon, you’re captain of the ship and you take responsibility for everything that happens in your operating theater. Likewise, ABC is responsible for all advertisements run by its affiliate networks. That ad burning AOC’s face was horrifying. No excuses. #BoycottABC— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 13, 2019
I absolutely cannot believe that @ABC run an advisement showing a burning picture of @AOC and dead bodies.— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) September 13, 2019
During a debate that millions of Americans watched.
ABC is owned by @Disney which owns @starwars and this is unbelievable.#BoycottABC #BotcottDisney
The boneheaded decision by @ABC execs to run a disgusting ad, which shows a burning picture of @AOC juxtaposed with dead bodies, MUST be held to account.— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) September 13, 2019
It was run during a debate that millions of Americans watched.
ABC (and Sinclair Broadcasting) MUST PAY. #BoycottABC https://t.co/FzxcftiKVK
Spoiler alert: Because they ran propaganda featuring a fucking picture of AOC being set on fire with skulls and dead bodies in the background during the Democratic debate last night. And they hired Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerJohn Legend, Chrissy Teigen troll Sean Spicer Biden administration competency doubts increase Overnight Defense & National Security — Iron Dome funding clears House MORE. People. Need. To. Be. Fired. #BoycottABChttps://t.co/3xmy2xik0W— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 13, 2019
#BoycottABC? Huh? Click. Oh. So Republicans have poor kids TODAY dying in dog kennels but AOC is the face of Pol Pot? Tough arguing with ignorance. If Repugs objected to authoritarianism as much as they do ”socialism,” poor kids IN AMERICA TODAY wouldn’t be dying in dog kennels.— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) September 13, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez also criticized the ad on Twitter shortly after it aired on Thursday night and called it "a love letter to the GOP's white supremacist case."
"Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist. Life is weird!" Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a pair of tweets.
“Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color - that was the pretense. What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color - that was the pretense.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 12, 2019
What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case. https://t.co/zvp1EB02c5
She also called out ABC and Sinclair Broadcast Group in a tweet for broadcasting the ad.
“GOP’s message: No policy, no facts, just displays of violence + corporations like @ABCNetwork & Sinclair who amplify them,” she wrote. “They profit from burning my likeness on TV. But who pays for heightened security? Who answers the phones for the threats resulting from a violent, false ad?”
GOP’s message: No policy, no facts, just displays of violence + corporations like @ABCNetwork & Sinclair who amplify them.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 13, 2019
They profit from burning my likeness on TV. But who pays for heightened security? Who answers the phones for the threats resulting from a violent, false ad? https://t.co/Gr1XhEbwDC
-- Updated at 4:02 p.m.