Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, during a press conference in front of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Thursday, January 26, 2023.
Mary F Calvert | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A political provocateur sued Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday for blocking him on Twitter after he berated her outside the US Capitol and shouted crude remarks about her body and her position on abortion.
Comedian Alex Stein called the New York Democrat his “favorite big-ass Latina” and yelled at the lawmaker that he loved her as she entered the building July 13 in a video he posted online.
“She wants to kill babies, but she’s still beautiful. You look very beautiful in that dress. you look very sexy Check out that loot on AOC,” he called out to Ocasio-Cortez. “Look how sexy she looks in that dress. Oooh I love it AOC. Hot, hot, hot like a tamale.”
Stein’s lawsuit cites a federal appeals court ruling that ruled against then-President Donald Trump that he violated the constitutional rights of several people by preventing them from following him on Twitter.
The appeals court said Trump acted in his official capacity as president when he blocked those individuals.
Just days after that ruling in November 2019, Ocasio-Cortez apologized and filed a complaint to former Brooklyn Rep. Dov Hikind, who is suing her for blocking him on her @AOC Twitter account in response to critical replies to her tweets case at.
In that case, Ocasio-Cortez lifted Hikind’s ban, saying he had “a first amendment right to voice his views and should not be banned for them.”
Stein seeks the same answer in his lawsuit, which he has filed in US District Court in Washington, DC
“I really have no bad feelings for AOC,” Stein said, adding that no monetary damages are being sought in the case.
“I really want her to unblock me,” he said, noting that doing so would allow him “to communicate with her.”
Source: Alex Stone
Ocasio-Cortez’s office and the attorneys who represented her in the previous Twitter Block lawsuit did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Stein’s lawsuit.
If the congresswoman fights the complaint, it would reopen the legal battle over the rights of political figures to block certain individuals or groups from following them on social media platforms.
In 2021, the US Supreme Court overturned the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Trump had violated the First Amendment rights of people he had suspended from his Twitter account while on duty at the White House. The Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeals to dismiss the case as moot because Trump was a private citizen at the time.
The Supreme Court’s order meant the 2nd Circuit’s decision could no longer be used as a precedent for similar cases in which elected officials blocked Twitter followers. The Ocasio-Cortez Legislative District lies within the boundaries of the 2nd Circuit.
Stein’s case is also considered to be different from the cases of Trump and Ocasio-Cortez in that his ban was issued based on statements he made in person rather than on an online account.
Video by Alex Stein with AOC
Source: Alex Stone
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Stein’s video of the encounter the same day, calling it a “deeply disgusting incident” and that Stein was “clearly seeking extremist fame.”
“Actually, I went over to decorate it because if nobody protects us, I will do it myself,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “But I had to catch more of a vote than a case today.”
In addition to calling Stein for his comments, Ocasio-Cortez blocked him from her @AOC Twitter account that day, which has more than 13 million followers, his suit said.
The lawsuit says she blocked him “in retaliation for Mr. Stein’s exercise of his First Amendment right because Mr. Stein had complimented Ms. Cortez earlier that day in connection with political commentary and satire.”
“Mr. Stein has a constitutional right to access Ms. Cortez’s Twitter account in the context of vigorous public comment and criticism,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Cortez’s practice of blocking Twitter users with whom she disagrees is unconstitutional, and this lawsuit seeks to rectify that error.”
Stein’s attorney, Jonathan Gross, said in an interview that the reference to Ocasio-Cortez’s body was “satire” and the reference to her support for abortion rights was “manifestly political.”
“My client is a political satirist,” Gross said. “Political speech, according to the Supreme Court, is the highest level of protected speech.”
But Gross said that despite what Stein said, the New York congresswoman didn’t have the legal right to block him on Twitter.
In his interview with CNBC, Stein said of his comments, “I didn’t really mean to disregard them.”
“It was the loveliest way I could say it,” Stein said, claiming he was actually “complimenting” her.
Stein, who has confronted other politicians in the past, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., has earned a reputation as a “right-wing” comedian, but he defies that label.
“Really, I’m anti-establishment,” he said.
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“I think we should have socialized medicine,” Stein said, noting that this is a left-wing idea he shares with Ocasio-Cortez, whose district includes parts of Queens and the Bronx.
But Stein also said he’s motivated to sue Ocasio-Cortez after it was recently announced that the House Ethics Committee had extended its review of her performance at the 2021 Met Gala, where she was accused of possibly giving an improper gift in the form of a couture – To have accepted the dress. Handbag, shoes and jewelry related to the event.
“I think ethically AOC plays fast and loose,” Stein said.
He also admitted, “Of course I want to get her attention.”
But he said he also appreciates the congresswoman and what the confrontation has done for his career.
Within two months of the incident, Stein was in talks with Blaze Media, conservative Glenn Beck’s network, to host his own show.
That show, Prime Time with Alex Stein, launched in February.
While his videotaped confrontations with other politicians helped raise his profile to get him this gig, “none of them have got the needle closer than AOC,” Stein said.