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State representative takes flak for to misogynistic online forum

  • Laconia Rep. Robert Fisher Courtesy



Monitor staff
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The state’s top House Democrat is calling for the resignation of Laconia Rep. Robert Fisher after an investigation by a national news organization revealed the Republican appears to be a secret creator of the misogynistic online forum known as “The Red Pill.”

A story published Tuesday by the Daily Beast names Fisher as a creator of the men’s rights forum, which counts nearly 200,000 subscribers and whose members espouse a view that feminism is a war on men. The site, hosted on Reddit, calls itself a “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.”

Fisher, a second-term representative, did not return a Monitor call for comment. In a written statement he distributed to media outlets, Fisher, 31, did not outright deny he was behind the forum.

“I’m disappointed that this sort of attack has replaced real news, but it strengthens my position and resolve that fighting for equal rights is more important today than ever,” he said in a four-paragraph statement. “Here’s my message to the public: I am not disappearing. I will continue to stand strong for men’s rights and the rights of all.”

When asked by the Daily Beast, Fisher denied involvement in the forum and said he didn’t know what it was. But within hours of the interview, four blogs linked to Fisher were deleted or made private, the story said. The Daily Beast traced the forum to Fisher through the Republican’s online user names.

The news drew sharp criticism from top House leaders and the state’s Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff called the revelation “outrageous.”

“I would ask the Speaker to join with me in asking for his resignation,” said Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper said he was “sickened” by what he read, but a response should come from voters in the next election.

“While the representative from Belknap, District 9 has not broken any laws, his words and actions clearly rises to the level of conduct unbecoming of a legislator,” Jasper said in a statement. “As is true with any legislator, if their constituents are upset with the actions of their representatives, the only way to respond is at the ballot box by not re-electing them.”

“The Red Pill” forum launched in 2012 – two years before Fisher was first voted into the New Hampshire House – and it quickly gained a following among men’s rights activists, the article said. Members subscribe to views that women lack intelligence and substance, while some are rape deniers, according to the Daily Beast. The forum’s guidelines bar members from ever announcing their genders, saying “women frequently use their sex to try and seize special attention on the internet. This does not fly in our community.”

According to the Daily Beast story, Fisher has commented under online user names saying women’s personalities are “lackluster and boring, serving little purpose in day to day life” and that “it is literally the (female) body that makes enduring these things worth it.” Under one user name, he said he video-taped sexual encounters to protect against fake allegations of rape, according to the Daily Beast.

In the statement, Fisher said some quotes were out of context.

“I won’t be going through the entirety of the internet to find the source and context of every supposed ‘statement’ being attributed to me, but those who know me can read for themselves and judge if that sounds like something I believe,” he wrote.

According to the Daily Beast, Fisher is no longer moderator of “The Red Pill” forum, and his last comment on the site was in October 2016.

“It’s shocking to see that an elected official created a forum designed to promote hatred and violence toward girls and women,” said Lyn Schollett, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “This is a stark reminder of why the state of New Hampshire should start devoting resources toward the prevention of sexual violence.”

Fisher represents Belmont and Laconia Wards 1 through 6 and has missed roughly half of the House session days so far this year, voting records show. Unlike most representatives, Fisher isn’t on any House committees. He requested not to be assigned on one, according to his legislative website.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or amorris@cmonitor.com.)