Twitter was full of confused journalists Wednesday evening when Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, tweeted that he was surprised to hear Ivanka Trump took offense at lewd comments– because had heard her make lewd comments herself.
Surprised Ivanka would be shocked by lewd language. I met her once & she casually said: “I’ve never seen a mulatto cock, but I’d like to!” https://t.co/WrgCoM0MGK
— Jonah Peretti (@peretti) October 19, 2016
“Surprised Ivanka would be shocked by lewd language. I met her once & she casually said: ‘I’ve never seen a mulatto cock, but I’d like to!,” Peretti tweeted. People were baffled by the tweet, wondering if Peretti had been hacked or meant the tweet as a joke. He later told a BuzzFeed News reporter by phone that the conversation took place eight to 10 years ago with a group of around 5 other people, at a bar called Tropical.
Peretti’s wife and another anonymous source confirmed that the gathering did happen in 2008. Peretti’s wife said she heard the quote.
Ivanka told BuzzFeed the story was a “complete and total lie,” and the Trump campaign asked for an apology.
Peretti said he decided to tweet the quote because he felt it was relevant, given that Ivanka said she was surprised to hear her father’s graphic language in the 2005 hot mic video released nearly two weeks ago. Her own alleged language would seem to show she makes lewd remarks herself, and that she uses outdated and racist language like “mulatto”—a word for a person of mixed black and white ancestry that is no longer appropriate to use.
While journalists on Twitter freaked out about the story, not everyone was impressed. Roxane Gay tweeted that the story added nothing to the election conversation while centering “the black body in a negative context.” Others made the point that while Trump’s awful comments about women clearly matter, Ivanka didn’t talk about touching men without their consent—so her quote is much less harmful. Plus, Ivanka’s not the one running for president.
Luckily, this election cycle is almost over. Let’s get excited for the debate!