Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shares grim morning routine of dealing with death threats

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sharing what she does first thing in the morning, when she's sipping her coffee: she looks at the faces of people who have threaten to kill her. The congresswoman tweeted about the grim morning security ritual to expose just how detrimental negative messages in the media can be.

Ocasio-Cortez's tweets came after Fresno Bee reporter Carmen George pointed to a video that played during a Fresno Grizzlies game. The Memorial Day video montage, which went viral online, depicted Ocasio-Cortez as an "enemy of freedom" in the same vein as foreign dictators like Kim Jong Un and Fidel Castro.

Though the team later apologized, Ocasio-Cortez responded to news of the video by revealing how such "hateful messages" have affected her life. She said that what some people might not realize is that when organizations "air these hateful messages," her life changes "because of the flood of death threats they inspire."

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"I've had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it's always men) who want to kill me," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

What people don’t (maybe do) realize is when orgs air these hateful messages, my life changes bc of the flood of death threats they inspire.

I‘ve had mornings where I wake up & the 1st thing I do w/ my coffee is review photos of the men (it’s always men) who want to kill me. https://t.co/hiYbPghad7

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 28, 2019

"I don't even get to see all of them," she said in another tweet. "Just the ones that have been flagged as particularly troubling. It happens whenever Fox gets particularly aggressive + hateful, too. Young interns have to constantly hear hateful messages (far beyond disagreement) from [people] we don't even rep."

"All of this is to say that words matter, and can have consequences for safety," she continued. "For those who believe in 'free speech': whose free speech do you believe in? Bc some folks using free speech to defend racism are also supporting folks passing laws to allow running over protesters."

Since her election in November at the age of 29, Ocasio-Cortez has become an outspoken leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party — and a frequent target for opponents on the right. Chants of "AOC sucks!" broke out at a Trump rally in Michigan earlier this spring.

"AOC sucks" chant erupts during Trump rally in Michigan

After the Grizzlies' Memorial Day video went viral online, the team issued a statement saying, "Unfortunately what was supposed to be a moving tribute ended with some misleading and offensive editing, which made a statement that was not our intent and certainly not our opinion."

"We're embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first. We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez," the Grizzlies wrote. "In addition to our fans, community and those we hurt. It was a mistake and we will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again."

First published on May 29, 2019 / 11:52 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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