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Cory Booker laughs off Twitter stripper scandal

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Newark's social-media-savvy mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker brushed off a story by BuzzFeed on Wednesday that he had exchanged direct messages with a stripper on Twitter. In fact, it seemed the information that surprised most people wasn't that a successful politician had been in contact with a stripper on Twitter, but rather that there's a vegan strip club in Portland, Ore.

The GIF-filled BuzzFeed story included a screenshot of a direct message conservation between Booker and stripper Lynsie Lee in which the mayor tells her that “The East Coast loves you and by the East Coast I mean me.” Lee reportedly works at the Casa Diablo in Portland, which markets itself as the world's first vegan strip joint.

But any shock about the private exchange was buffered by the fact that Booker and Lee follow each other and have publicly traded tweets in the past; Lee appeared in the documentary Follow Friday: The Film along with Booker.

After the story was published on BuzzFeed, campaign spokesperson Kevin Griffis told reporters that Booker often converses with Twitter users from all backgrounds. “I think it's pretty well known that the mayor talks with people from all walks of life on Twitter,” Griffis wrote. “There have been a couple stories about that over the years. Really, the most shocking part of this story was learning there is a vegan strip club in Portland.”

Booker himself passively addressed the faux scandal when he tweeted, “All right @BuzzFeedBen last time I ever appear in a film with you! Sorry @erinscafe (big smile).” @BuzzFeedBen, also known as BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, appeared in the Twitter documentary with Booker and Lee. Later on, Booker tweeted, “Thanks 4 the clarification (lol) MT @DaveTKoenig: Just to end speculation right now, Cory & I follow each other, and it's purely platonic.”

Users on Twitter seemed to also laugh off the story and most wanted to know why they had never heard of a vegan strip club. The story will likely do little to hurt Booker's chances at winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in a few weeks; according to Real Clear Politics, Booker has a 12-point lead over his Republican opponent.

Photo via kars4kids/Flickr