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Fancy Farm organizers comment on controversial viral photo

Congresswoman called out McConnell after post
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Posted at 11:20 AM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 11:20:15-04

FANCY FARM, Ky. (WPSD / LEX 18) — Organizers of the Fancy Farm Picnic have issued a statement in response to a photo taken at the event that shows a group of young men posing next to a cutout of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Mark Wilson, who organizes the political speaking lineup, sent WPSD the following statement:

“The parish welcomes a wide variety of political interests to our picnic, and we don’t condone any behavior that goes beyond high-spirited civil discourse.

“We ask everyone who comes to our picnic to treat each other with respect and to remain focused on the mission of the event, which is to raise money for the parish and its charitable endeavors.

“Passions run high in our current political environment, and at times like these we would advise everyone to reflect on their actions and pray for wisdom for our leaders and peace and calm for our people."

It was signed by Mark Wilson, Lori Wilson and Steven Elder of the St. Jerome Picnic Political Committee as well as Rev. Darrell Venters, pastor of St. Jerome Parish.

In the photo, one of the young men had his arm around the cutout and appears to be kissing it, while another appears to be choking it. The photo also had the caption “Break me off a piece of that.”

Because the young men in the photo were wearing Team Mitch shirts, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted the photo to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday night:

“Hey @senatemajldr– these young men look like they work for you.

“Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch? Thanks.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez@AOCHey @senatemajldr - these young men look like they work for you.

Just wanted to clarify: are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?

Thanks."

The Team Mitch Twitter account later posted:

“Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and liberal Twitter personalities are trying to dox some underage kids for taking a photo with a cutout at the Fancy Farm political picnic and are cheering on thousands of accounts calling for Senator McConnell to ‘break his neck,'” it read.

McConnell’s campaign manager, Kevin Golden, said in a statement, “These young men are not campaign staff, they’re high schoolers, and it’s incredible that the national media has sought to once again paint a target on their backs rather than report real, and significant news in our country.”

An Instagram account that appeared to have belonged to one of the young men involved had a picture of a card that said “I was wrong… I’m sorry.” The caption added, “My friends and I sincerely apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, Senator McConnell, to our school, St. Jerome Parish, and our community for our insensitive actions at Fancy Farm this past weekend.”

LEX 18 reports that the photo includes students of Lexington Christian Academy. The school released the following statement:

“Lexington Christian Academy officials are aware of a photo circulating on social media which includes LCA students attending a recent, non-school event. This matter has been addressed with the students and families involved.”

The Fancy Farm Picnic is a charitable fundraiser for St. Jerome Catholic Church that attracts thousands of people each year because of its barbecue, political speakers and other events.