Ron DeSantis

Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Ron DeSantis really wants everyone to see all the ‘porn’ he’s found

The mailers feature excerpts from a book DeSantis helped remove from Florida school shelves.

 

Katherine Huggins

Tech

Hundreds of thousands of voters in Iowa and South Carolina will soon receive sexually explicit campaign mailers, courtesy of Never Back Down, a political action committee supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) 2024 presidential bid.

“Warning: The contents of this mailer include sexually graphic materials that Ron DeSantis removed from schools,” the mailer says.

According to a Fox News report, the mailer aims to counter criticism of DeSantis’ support last year for HB 1467, a law that established strict review requirements for school books. 

“Only DeSantis is battling and winning against woke corporations, trying to brainwash our kids—even the most powerful ones in his own backyard,” the mailer reads. “Ron DeSantis is the only leader standing up to the Woke elites for parents and kids.”

Never Back Down’s mailers also reference DeSantis’ ongoing feud with Disney, arguing he is the only candidate “battling and WINNING against woke corporations trying to brainwash our kids—even the most powerful ones in his own backyard.”

According to data from the Federal Election Committee, the PAC has spent more than $6 million in independent expenditures since April, the vast majority of which ($4.3 million) has gone into Iowa, the state hosting the first-in-the-nation Republican primary caucus. Its second biggest target has been South Carolina, another traditionally early caucus state, which has seen $1.9 million in spending.

Never Back Down’s newest mailers featured excerpts from Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir that talked about sock stuffing and masturbation, according to Fox News. 

Kobabe’s book is reportedly America’s most banned book, having been pulled from the shelves of at least 49 school districts in Florida, Texas, Michigan, Utah, and other states.

“I feel a responsibility not to be quiet about censorship,” Kobabe told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re at this moment where I think there are more than ever trans and nonbinary actors, authors, artists, politicians, but there’s also more than ever legislation trying to limit the access to healthcare for trans students, access to sports teams or school clubs. Access to books.”

Opponents have painted DeSantis’ actions as a book ban, but the Florida governor argues that not “a single book” has been banned in Florida. 

While the ban doesn’t affect bookstores and non-educational settings, the law has reduced students’ access to certain books. Since it took effect, at least 23 school districts have removed books from their schools’ shelves, according to a press release from DeSantis’ office.

“Of the 175 books removed across the state, 164 (94%) were removed from media centers, and 153 (87%) were identified as pornographic, violent, or inappropriate for their grade level,” the release said. It added examples saying parents found—and districts then banned—such as: Gender Queer: A Memoir, an “explicit, pornographic book showing sex acts;” Flamer, a “graphic book about young boys performing sexual acts at a summer camp;” This Book Is Gay, “a book containing instructions on ‘the ins and outs of gay sex;’” and Let’s Talk About It, a book “that contains graphic depictions about how to masturbate.”

A survey by PEN America found that “overwhelmingly, book banners continue to target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” with 26% of titles banned during the first half of the 2022-2023 school year featuring LGBTQ+ themes or characters.

But some non-sexually explicit books have been pulled from school shelves under the sweeping law, which allows parents to review a school district’s instructional material and empowers them to lodge complaints about any book or subject matter they believe is inappropriate for students.

The law has resulted in teachers and educators “walking on eggshells,” and erring on the side of caution amid concerns that inadvertently violating the law could result in a third-degree felony.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, other instances of books being pulled from shelves in some schools include And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book about a baby penguin raised by two males; It’s Okay to Be Different, which includes the lines “It’s okay to have different moms” and “It’s okay to have different dads;” and The Hate U Give, which contains some sexual content but mainly focuses on racism and police brutality.

DeSantis has consistently trailed former President Donald Trump in Republican primary polls, however, an Emerson College national poll released Thursday found that the Floridian made a 5-point gain since April. The latest poll shows Trump with 59% of support among Republican primary voters, while DeSantis came in second with 21%.

web_crawlr
We crawl the web so you don’t have to.
Sign up for the Daily Dot newsletter to get the best and worst of the internet in your inbox every day.
Sign up now for free
 
The Daily Dot