Local

Criticism abounds after Rhode Island state senator twerks in TikTok video

“It’s not about what I’m wearing, it’s not about what I’m doing. They don’t respect me regardless.”

Handout
State Sen. Tiara Mack, a Providence Democrat. Handout

Rhode Island state Sen. Tiara Mack is facing criticism from both Republicans and some fellow Democrats after posting a short video of herself twerking upside down on a Block Island beach on TikTok on Monday.

In the video, Mack is seen wearing a bikini while doing a headstand and shaking her behind, before she tells viewers, “Vote Senator Mack!,” according to The Boston Globe.

The criticism quickly followed.

“Just waiting for the Glocester Ancient and Horribles parade to start, and someone sent me something Horrible for sure,” @LaurieinRI wrote in a tweet. “This is Senator Tiara Mack. She argued hard to bring Anything Goes Sex Ed to your 11 year old.”

Advertisement:

The tweet was an apparent jab at a bill Mack sponsored that, if passed, would mandate sex education courses in the Ocean State to “affirmatively recognize pleasure based sexual relations, different sexual orientations and be inclusive of same-sex relationships,” the newspaper reports.

Mack fired back at her critics on Monday night.

“Damn,” she wrote in a tweet. “Twerking upside down really makes the conservative, unhinged internet accounts pop off on a Monday 🥴”

On Tuesday morning, Mack also posted a series of tweets questioning why the news media did not also cover her legislation and accomplishments, although at that point, there had not been any major media coverage of the video and ensuing backlash.

But the video did end up on national television later on Tuesday, when Fox News’s Tucker Carlson picked it up on his show.

And Republicans and conservatives were also not the only ones to raise issue with Mack’s video.

According to the Globe, criticism came from all over, with many on Twitter calling the move unprofessional and insulting, particularly to Black women.

“I’m not a conservative and I’m disappointed,” @nikki_1968 wrote on Twitter. “Where do we draw the line on the behavior of public figures? I like when WE have a standard of decorum that we want OUR people to rise to. To be UNCOMMON to be admired! This ain’t it.”

Advertisement:

“People just expect a certain level of decorum from elected officials,” @SlickJohanwyck wrote in a tweet. “It’s sad what we are asked to choose from.”

@VERBAL_CHANCLA wrote, “If she had been at a private party and someone filmed her doing that…I’d be pretty impressed with her ability. But this is an ad? This is her trying to make a point as a serious woman? Nah.”

But fellow Democratic state Sen. Jonathon Acosta, in defense of Mack, pointed to a double-standard of how female politicians are treated compared to their male counterparts.

“It’s public that I’m out here casually drinking, smoking weed, and spending as much time shirtless as the summer sun will allow and it’s not an issue because I have a penis,” he tweeted.

Also on Tuesday, Republicans began using the video as a fundraising opportunity for Mack’s opponent, Adriana Bonilla — and so did Mack’s supporters, the Globe reports.

Mack eventually hopped back on TikTok to post several videos and respond to her critics again.

“I have an Ivy League degree, and I’m a sitting state senator,” Mack, a Brown University graduate, said in another video. “It’s not about what I’m wearing, it’s not about what I’m doing. They don’t respect me regardless.”

Advertisement:

On Wednesday, Mack wrote on Twitter that she forgot “the Supreme Court owns my body. Sorry for twerking.”

“Please read: Sorry not sorry,” she added.

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com