Ted Cruz “Likes” a Pornographic Tweet refers to an hour or so on September 11th, 2017 in which Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz had a post in his Twitter “likes” featuring a clip from a pornographic film.
On September 11th, 2017, Twitter account @SexuallPosts, a Twitter account that posts GIFs and clips of pornographic content, posted a clip from a video by pornographic studio Reality Kings. In the clip, a mother walks in on her daughter and a guy having sex and masturbates nearby. At some point during the day, Ted Cruz’ Twitter account “liked” the video, and since one’s likes are public information on Twitter, the like was soon noticed.
News of the “like” began spreading in the early morning of September 12th, 2017, EST. @MagicBulletRecs discovered the like and tweeted a screenshot in the replies to @SexuallPosts’ original tweet, (shown below). Twitter user @Yashar tweeted a more explicit screenshot in a more popular tweet that gained over 3,800 retweets.
Once the “like” became common knowledge on Twitter, it was quickly joked about, as people mocked Cruz with pictures of him or with screenshots of the video. User @TheDukeWindsor posted stills from the video and captioned them “When you notice Ted Cruz liking twitter porn,” gaining over 1,600 retweets (shown below, left). Another popular tweet by @EMINEMOBAMA pointed out that the woman in the video resembled Cruz’ wife, Heidi, gaining over 1,400 retweets (shown below, right).
After the tweet was liked for about an hour, Cruz staffer Catherine Frazier tweeted an update which stated “The offensive tweet posted on @tedcruz account earlier has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter.” This was incorrect, as Cruz did not post the tweet, but rather “liked” it, and reporting the tweet would be useless as porn is allowed to be posted on Twitter. The following morning, reporter Frank Thorp tweeted quotes Cruz himself gave in response to the controversy. Cruz reacted with good humor and wrote off the like as a mistake made by a staffer.
The moment was picked up by several news blogs the following day, including The Daily Dot, TIME, Huffington Post, and many more. Meanwhile, jokes about Ted Cruz began hitting /r/MemeEconomy, where two posts talking about the incoming spread of Ted Cruz memes gained 294 and 42 points, respectively (shown below).