Comments by California Representative Katie Porter during a congressional hearing on anti-LGBTQ violence on Dec. 14 have been misrepresented online.
Some social media users misleadingly edited her comments and said they showed her suggesting that pedophilia is not a crime, but “an identity.” Full footage of her remarks at a congressional hearing shows she was condemning online content that wrongly labels members of the LGBTQ+ community as “groomers” or “pedophiles.”
The false posts echo repeatedly debunked harmful tropes connecting the LGBTQ community to “grooming” or pedophilia (here), (here), (here).
A congressional hearing on Wednesday by the U.S. House Oversight Committee explored anti-LGBTQ violence following the deadly shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last month where five people were killed and another 22 wounded. Reuters reports on the hearing and the shooting can be seen (here), (here).
An extract of Porter’s speech at the hearing has since been stripped of its context on social media (here) (here) and in online articles (here) that falsely claim the congresswoman said pedophilia is not a crime, but “an identity.”
Full footage of Porter’s exchange with Kelley Robinson, president of LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), during the hearing is viewable on C-SPAN (here), starting at timestamp 2:48:52.
Moments before the segment shown in the cropped clip, Porter referred to a study co-authored by the HRC (bit.ly/3HFswU4) that examined how much engagement a sample of tweets labeling members of the LGBTQ community as “groomers”, “predators”, “pedophiles” and other “abusive slurs” had gained.
Around timestamp 2:49:55, Porter said: “That groomer narrative is an age-old lie to position LGBTQ+ people as a threat to kids, and what it does is deny them access to public spaces and stokes fear and can even stoke violence.”
Porter then goes on to say the words circulating on social media (timestamp 2:51:13), making it clear she is referring to the LGBTQ community - and not pedophiles, as posts online suggest - when she says “it is alleging that a person is criminal somehow and engaging in criminal acts merely because of their identity.”
Contacted by Reuters, Lindsay Reilly, Deputy Communications Director of Rep. Porter, dismissed the social media posts and said, via email, that “Rep. Porter did not say that pedophilia is an identity.”
False. This video does not show Rep. Katie Porter saying that pedophilia is an identity. Full footage of her remarks at a congressional hearing on Dec. 14 shows she was condemning content online that labels members of the LGBTQ+ community as “groomers” or “pedophiles.”
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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