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While grilling Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Ocasio-Cortez forged Twitter’s newest meme, and it’s very Italian. Ocasio-Cortez questioned Zuckerberg about political ads on Oct. 23 during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. During the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez squinted her eyes and raised her hands in a way that reminded many of their local, Italian pizzeria owner.
“You announced recently that the official policy of Facebook now allows politicians to pay to spread disinformation in 2020 elections and in the future,” Ocasio-Cortez said around the one minute and 50-second mark in the video.
Over the next few days, Twitter satirically reevaluated Ocasio-Cortez’s nationality.
“Who knew @AOC was Italian?” Twitter user @peepsalum questioned.
Many found the meme relatable.
“*when the mozzarell is fresh*” Twitter user @fakemikemulloy joked.
When the moon hits your eye pic.twitter.com/Gs3mfWKGKG— Lou (@ljstella) October 28, 2019
*when the mozzarell is fresh* pic.twitter.com/LiM4OQwGD7— mike mulloy (@fakemikemulloy) October 28, 2019
Others jokingly called out the meme and Ocasio-Cortez for cultural appropriation.
“This cultural appropriation by @AOC, a woman of political prominence is extremely insensitive I’m especially offended as an Italian American. Especially around Halloween. If you’re not Italian and using this hand gesture in public you’re a racist bigot and need to be checked,” Twitter user @MikeSaliani joked.
Italian stereotypes. pic.twitter.com/YRIDxl5Mar— Kassandra (@kassandramalake) October 29, 2019
This cultural appropriation by @AOC, a woman of political prominence is extremely insensitive I’m especially offended as an Italian American. Especially around Halloween. If you’re not Italian and using this hand gesture in public you’re a racist bigot and need to be checked pic.twitter.com/LKR3rASLOU— Saliani (@MikeSaliani) October 29, 2019
The gesture lasted for just a second of Ocasio-Cortez’s allotted time of five minutes given to interview Zuckerberg.
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H/T Know Your Meme
Libby Cohen is a third-year University of Texas student originally from New Jersey. She has written for ORANGE Magazine, the Daily Texan, and most recently interned for 1010 WINS in NYC. She's now back in Austin writing for the Texas Standard and the Daily Dot.