Pieter Hanson, a Florida-based veteran, became the face of the Twitter hashtag #HimToo — a movement challenging survivors of sexual assault speaking out against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination — without his knowledge on Monday. A Twitter fiasco ensued and Hanson later had to do damage control.
It all started when Hanson’s mother used a photo of her son in a Navy uniform to criticize the #MeToo movement on Monday night.
“This is MY son,” Hanson’s mother’s now-deleted tweet read. “He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.”
The tweet garnered a mix of support and backlash. Holly Figueroa O’Reilly, an organizer for the March for Truth movement, shared a screenshot explaining the tweet.
Although false sexual accusations are rare, some agreed with Hanson’s mother’s tweet and used the #HimToo hashtag to further its message. One was Scott Presler, the vice chairman of the Virginia Beach Young Republicans.
“Every single one of us has a man in our lives,” Presler wrote. “Your father, brother, husband, son, friend or neighbor may have his life ruined by an uncorroborated, unsubstantiated sexual assault allegation. This should scare the hell out of you.
Brigitte Gabriel, the founder and chairman of ACT for America, the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, also chimed in to support #HimToo.
“I feel terrible for what Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family have gone through, but I am glad the left has been exposed for their dirty tactics. #HimToo.”
Supporters of the #MeToo movement also criticized the tweet Hanson’s mother posted. Some, like Qasim Rashid, creator and host of Re Sight Islam podcast, wrote satirical posts.
“This is my sun,” Rashid wrote. “It won’t go on dates with girls because it’s a giant mass of incandescent gas and therefore too hot to handle. #HimToo.”
Amy Siskind, the president of the New Agenda, a not-for-profit organization empowering women and girls, shared a side-by-side list of fears women and girls have versus fears men and boys have when it comes to safety.
Hanson, who wasn’t using Twitter at the time, found out about the tweet from a friend, according to the Washington Post.
“It doesn’t represent me at all,” Hanson told the Post. “I love my mom to death, but boy ... I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this.” Through his grandmother and younger brother, Hanson requested that his mother remove the tweet, leading her to delete her account altogether.
Because of the amount of traction his mother’s tweet received, Hanson felt it was necessary to clear the air about where he stands. On Tuesday morning, he tweeted for the first time, cleverly using the handle “@Thatwasmymom.”
“That was my Mom,” Hanson wrote. “Sometimes the people we love do things that hurt us without realizing it. Let’s turn this around. I respect and
#BelieveWomen. I never have and never will support #HimToo. I’m a proud Navy vet, Cat Dad and Ally. Also, Twitter, your meme game is on point.”