“Apologies for the blatantly mean tweet but THIS is what AOC’s boyfriend looks like?”
In a social media post this weekend, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., revealed that Twitter mockery of her ginger-bearded boyfriend Riley Roberts had spurred him into getting a new haircut.
Roberts makes several appearances in “Knock Down the House,” a documentary featuring the dramatic run-up to Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 dramatic primary victory over former House Rep. Joe Crowley. A Friday tweet from French feminist writer Marie Le Conte sparked a flurry of commentary about Roberts’ looks.
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“Apologies for the blatantly mean tweet but THIS is what AOC’s boyfriend looks like? incredible scenes, truly representing all the ambitious and stunning millenial women shackled to boyfriends who look like bin raccoons out there,” Conte said in a since-deleted tweet.
– shames AOC's boyfriend on twitter dot com
– gets called out about it
– proceeds to whine and delete original tweet
for someone who's "way meaner in person (than on Twitter)", she sure can't take the heat. pic.twitter.com/VVGb3UiWrI
— Dom Augustine (@domaug) May 3, 2019
The wave of backlash Conte faced for “shaming” Roberts about his looks led her to wipe the tweet from the internet. But not before Twitter denizens had taken Conte’s initial sentiment and run with it.
While her initial tweet featured a photograph of a shaggy-haired, purple-shirted Roberts, social media commenters substituted various images for comedic effect:
apologies for the blatantly mean tweet but THIS is what AOC’s boyfriend looks like? incredible scenes, truly representing all the ambitious and stunning millenial women shackled to boyfriends who look like bin raccoons out there pic.twitter.com/nP96PVb15Q
— Gene Park (@GenePark) May 3, 2019
Roberts and Ocasio-Cortez got the hint.
Wait a minute…AOC's boyfriend looks like THIS? Me, at my high school graduation? WTF???? pic.twitter.com/MNzebnbmi3
— dspring (@darrendspringer) May 3, 2019
“The internet roasted Riley into getting a haircut/glow up after #KnockDownTheHouse,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the caption to an Instagram story video.
“You look good! Ooooh, look at that shape-up!” the freshman congresswoman is heard telling her boyfriend in the video.
Ocasio-Cortez also addressed the sartorial controversy in a Friday tweet, writing that the couple was “so ready for lumberjack life after months of 18 hour days that neither one of us had gotten a haircut in months.”
“It was very nice to see him again after we took a weed wacker to his castaway beard post-election,” she added.
apologies for the blatantly mean tweet but THIS is what AOC's boyfriend looks like? incredible scenes, truly representing all the ambitious and stunning millenial women shackled to boyfriends who look like bin raccoons out there pic.twitter.com/F33OFRCidB
— Escaped Zoo Animal (@ebarcuzzi) May 3, 2019
While Roberts and Ocasio-Cortez appeared to take the ribbing in stride, some of her liberal supporters did not. Entertainment reporter Anna Menta was just one of the several blue-checkmarked media figures who urged the internet to leave Roberts alone. In a piece for Decider, Menta even gave herself a rhetorical pat-on-the-back for her defense of Ocasio-Cortez’s “sweet, supportive” and civically engaged boyfriend.
leave AOC’s boyfriend alone, he looks like every single rose emoji guy on this website
— Lucy Valentine (@LucyXIV) May 3, 2019
“Many had jokes to offer,” Menta wrote, “But more, like yours truly, came to Roberts’ defense.”
Much has been made of Ocasio-Cortez’s avowed mastery of the social media medium. The millennial progressive’s savvy on Twitter and Instagram has helped propel her to a public profile that few of her colleagues can match. But there have been signs that the spotlight might at times be too bright for the Bronx-born democratic socialist, who has repeatedly complained of conservatives’ purported “obsession” with her.
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