On Thursday, Republican Representative Jason Lewis defended comments he made back in 2012 about women and whether or not they could be called “sluts”.
According to CNN’s KFile, Rep. Lewis degraded and demeaned women on his former radio show “The John Lewis Show” for a period of 15 months. On Wednesday, CNN was able to obtain the audio from the show just this Wednesday.
CNN reported in August of 2012 that Lewis speculated over why more women tend to vote for Democratic candidates. According to the audio files obtained, he said, “Is birth control really that important to you ladies? Is that really the most important thing that you get your condoms for free? Now you’ve gotten Madonna, you know, running around and slutty outfits and Sandra Fluke telling everybody I’m not going to pay a dime for my diaphragm. Is that really what’s important to women? I can’t believe that. And yet there’s this gender gap every election cycle. Women go Democrat.”
In September of that year, Lewis returned to the topic of birth control and Sandra Fluke’s testimony, adding, “If I’m Sandra Fluke, and I say, ‘I don’t want to pay for my condoms, I want you to pay for them,’ that has nothing to do with insurance. That’s first dollar, prepaid medicine. It’s that’s going to jack up the cost for everybody. It’s not insurance for a catastrophic event. She is a parasite. I’m not going to call her a slut, but I will call her a parasite.”
Defending and standing by his 2012 comments, Lewis told a local Minnesota radio station on Thursday, “Look, a rhetorical discussion about the cultural changes and whether we can hold anyone, male or female, to standards made for an interesting hour, made for an interesting rhetorical discussion. That’s what you’re supposed to do on talk radio. And if you’re provocative when you do it, well, that’s part of our job. I presume, you know, the people that are running with this story are looking for ratings as well. So, it’s kind of sad that it’s come back to this, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“I would not have a problem at all going to the same discussion… because I don’t tell my daughters to behave like some people in Hollywood behave,” Lewis continued. “I still hold those standards. I think most women in the 2nd District holds those standards. And so the question becomes, have we come to a place in life where you can’t hold people to those standards, and you can’t shame people, male or female, for behaving in a way that our parents told us we shouldn’t behave?”
Doubling down on his past remarks, Rep. Lewis claimed, “I was paid to be provocative,” adding that “there’s a difference between a politician and a pundit. That’s why going back six years, eight years, 10 years, 15 years, misses the point. There’s a different role. That discussion you just mentioned was a rhetorical discussion about societal changes and what’s happened, what’s happened to shame. Do we have too much or too little of it now? Of course there’s a big difference. That’s the point I’ve been making.”