In her first post as a presidential candidate, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina accused Hillary Clinton of using a photo of her face as part of her presidential campaign, then later accused the former secretary of state of lying about the photograph’s content.
But for months after the photo was published, Fiorina did not apologize.
Instead, she continued to insist that her face was a real one.
A woman who has been the subject of multiple jokes about the shape of her chin has said she has become a symbol of sexism in American politics, and her experience has brought her back to the forefront of debate.
In this June 8, 2020, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Carly Floyds speaks during a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard chief executive, has become the subject and the subjectless target of jokes about being a “slut.”
(Photo: Mary Altaffer, AP)”I have no problem being a ‘slut,’ ” she said during an interview with CNN in September.
“I’m not afraid to be a slut.
I think that’s part of who I am.”
In an interview on CNN last month, Fiorina said she was “a little bit shocked” when a joke about her shape on a social media site was taken out of context.
“If you look at the content of that photo, the photo is actually not my face, and that’s not how it was taken,” she said.
“But I can assure you, if I had a photo on a website of my face being put up as part that photo and a few people had taken it and were trying to put it up, I think I would be laughed at, not cheered up.”
She added, “I don’t think I was very well received in my own party and certainly not well received by many people who had been supportive of me as I have run for office.”
A few months later, after Fiorina’s comments about the photo resurfaced, a man wrote on Twitter that the photo showed “nothing more than an attempt to destroy a beautiful woman” and suggested Fiorina was “an embarrassment to America.”
The photo was widely seen as a jab at Clinton and the former first lady, who had struggled in the general election and appeared to have lost ground in the national polls after she conceded the election to Donald Trump in November.
But the photo, a composite of several images taken of Fiorina by an unidentified person and posted on a site called Photobucket, has sparked debate in American society, particularly among women who have been the targets of misogynistic jokes about their looks.
“It is offensive, and it is disgusting that this photo has been taken,” Carly Fiorina said on CNN in October.
“We have to fight for women’s right to be represented in public life, and we have to not allow ourselves to be bullied into silence or silenced by people who think that they can take away our rights to be women or our right to exist as people.
I am fighting for my right to do what I want to do, because that is what I believe in.”
Her remarks came during a time when many women have been under scrutiny for their appearances, which include a lack of makeup, hair extensions and body hair.
Fiorina’s campaign said that her comments were not in response to criticism.
“I did not have a comment on this photo, and my campaign is not going to respond to the characterization that this is an attack on women,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul told The Associated Press in a statement.
Fiorina said that she does not regret her comments about Clinton.
“As a woman, I have no issue with being the butt, the object of jokes,” she told CNN.
“But as a woman of color, I believe that being a butt is a symbol that the country and the world is hostile to me.”
In an interview this month with ABC News, Fiorina defended her comments and the photo on Twitter, saying that “women are not objectified.”
“My own body is a representation of who women are, and women are not the ones that are being objectified,” she wrote.
“When a woman does well in life, she is successful.
When she does poorly, she’s a loser.”