Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned the online actions of some of his supporters who sent nasty messages to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her supporters before she dropped out of the presidential campaign race.
“We don’t need ugly, personal attacks against Sen. Warren, or anyone else for that matter,” Sanders told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, according to Business Insider.
Sanders added that he hopes his supporters engage in “vigorous debates” about issues online instead of attacking his opponents.
The senator’s message came out one day before Warren said in an interview with Madow that the Bernie Bros, a section of his fan base, had sent her snake emojis and called her a traitor before she left the race.
Warren said Thursday she thinks there is a problem with online bullying and “organized nastiness,” but in some instances, Sanders’ supporters have made women who did not align with their campaign values feel unsafe online.
“[The Bernie Bros] actually published the phone numbers and home address of the two women, the executive director and the communications director, women of color, immigrant women — and really put them in fear for their families,” she said.
“These are tough women who’ve run labor organizing campaigns and really earned their jobs … and said for the first time because of this onslaught of online threats that they felt really under attack.”
Warren added that each candidate should be held responsible for the actions of their supporters in the name of his or her campaign.
“I want to say this for all of the candidates, back when there were lots of us. We are responsible for the people who claim to be our supporters and do really threatening, ugly, dangerous things to other candidates.”
Maddow asked if this was a big problem with Sanders supporters, and Warren said it is.
This is not the first time that Sanders has had to address online bullying by supporters of his campaign.
In February, the Culinary Workers Union said some of Sanders’ supporters “viciously” attacked the organization on Twitter and through text and voicemail messages after it criticized the senator’s universal health care plan, Reuters reported.
“Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me, and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks,” Sanders said in a statement.
He added in an interview with “PBS NewsHour” that anyone who engages in this type of behavior “is not part of our movement.”
The Bernie Bros also created problems for Sanders in 2016 when they made gender-based derogatory remarks about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I have heard about it. It’s disgusting,” Sanders said at the time, according to Business Insider. “Look, you know that anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things is — we don’t want them.”
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