Dem party chair apologizes for 'rape' comment
Posted May 3, 2013
North Carolina Democrats were buzzing Friday about a controversial comment made by party chairman Randy Voller.
Voller spoke to the Democratic Women of Guilford County Thursday night at their annual President's Spring Banquet.
Someone from the Guilford County Democratic Party was live-tweeting the event.
One tweet quoted Voller as saying,"The GOP that’s leading us – we don’t know where they’re taking us, but they’re raping us along the way.”
The tweet was quickly deleted.
Attendees at the event say the quote is correct. Some were reportedly offended by the comment.
In an interview with WRAL Friday, Voller said he could neither confirm nor deny it because he wasn't speaking from prepared remarks.
"I think it’s a complete misquote, or a redaction," he said, then added, "I did use the term contextually."
Voller said "raping" has more than one meaning, and his use of it was strictly metaphorical.
"I was discussing what had just happened on the Nightmare on Jones Street," he said. "It’s as if barbarians are pillaging and plundering. I'm talking about the destruction that's going on."
"It’s no different than saying that fracking is raping the land," he said.
Still, Voller said he understands his word choice might have given offense.
"I was not intending to offend anyone," he said. "I’m sorry if they took it that way. That’s not what the metaphor means."
"I will refrain from using the term in the future because it’s so charged," he added.
Voller said he didn't ask for the tweet to be deleted, and he has "no clue" who might have done so.
"In the Twitterverse, it certainly gives an opening that didn’t exist when I grew up," he said. "That’s something I’m still – I think all of us are struggling with, because technology allows us to go much further with the platforms that are available to us."
The Guilford County Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for information about who sent the tweet and why it was deleted.
In an emailed statement, the state Republican party called the comment "shameful, divisive, and offensive" and called on the Democratic party to issue an apology.
"[We] hope that Chairman Voller will step down to allow voters the opportunity to engage in a respectful and dignified discussion, regardless of gender or political affiliation," said NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes. "This is the type of shameful and disgusting political attack language that North Carolinians are tired of hearing.”