Pfizer ask Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith to refund campaign donation after ‘public hanging’ comments
American pharma giant Pfizer have asked Mississippi Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith to return campaign donations after the candidate was filmed joking about attending a “public hanging”.
Hyde-Smith said in a video that appeared on social media, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Pfizer made two donations towards Hyde-Smith’s campaign, coming to a total of $5000.
The video in question shows Hyde-Smith embracing supporter Colin Hutchinson who was said to have offered her an invitation to a speaking engagement. However the politician’s response sparked outrage after Will and Grace star, Debra Messing tweeted “After lynching comments, Walmart donates to Cindy Hyde-Smith.”
“We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms,” Pfizer spokesperson Sharon Castillo said to ABC News. “We are withdrawing our support and have requested a full refund of our contributions, which were made months in advance of the senator’s comments.”
The outrage has come just a few weeks after Hyde-Smith was condemned for advocating voter suppression after saying to supports in Starkville Mississippi: “there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”
“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement,” Hyde-Smith said in a statement. “In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous”
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