Ruth Buffalo, the Democratic candidate for Insurance Commissioner, is calling out her opponent, Libertarian Party candidate Nick Bata, for what she describes as an offensive comment about rape, but Bata says he won’t apologize for the comments.
“In a public thread on Facebook, Bata engaged in a discussion about rape, making demeaning and offensive comments including his statement, ‘Make America Rape Again,'” a statement from Buffalo’s campaign sent out yesterday reads (see it in full below).
“The people of North Dakota deserve an Insurance Commissioner who has an appropriate temperament for the office, and who is compassionate to victims of sexual assault,” the statement continues. “These comments are completely unacceptable. We call upon Mr. Bata and the Libertarian Party of North Dakota to apologize and recant these statements.”
Here’s a screenshot of Bata’s comment they included with the release. You can read the full thread, which took place under a post by former Democratic legislative candidate Jess Roscoe, right here. Bata says some comments from the thread have since been deleted (more on that in a moment).
When I spoke to Bata via Facebook Messenger this morning, he told me he’s not apologizing.
“No I won’t apologize for something I have the right to say,” he said. “My rights don’t end where their insensitivity begins.”
“It was started like a month ago. And all of a sudden everyone decided to talk about it two days ago,” he said of the thread.
“These people are more interested with beating people over the head with PC garbage so everyone is terrified to take an opposing view on certain subject matters,” he said.
Bata said the discussion, from which he says comments have since been deleted, started with what he described as a “liberal friend” but got ugly after he “had the audacity to not agree with ‘American Rape Culture’, ‘1-5 women are raped in America’ and the ‘Wage-Gap.'”
“I over and over said rape is real but rape culture in America is not,” Bata told me. “Anyone that believes someone is actually pro-rape is off their rocker. Since I disagree with them then I am ‘Trump supporter.'”
Bata said his “Make Rape Great Again” comment was a sarcastic response to being told he was a Trump supporter, which he says he is not.
“It would be irresponsible of me, or anyone, to take a stance on a Facebook thread that is heavily edited, has deleted comments, and zero context,” Tony Magnall, spokesman for the North Dakota Libertarian Party, told me in response to a request for comment. “As this acrimonious election season heats up we are going to continue to see lots of hyperbole from all sides, and as consumers of information we need to be savvy enough to understand when someone is trying to influence our thoughts or emotions with incomplete characterizations of people or events.”
Here’s the full statement from the Buffalo campaign: