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Republican State Leader Facing Backlash for Offensive Facebook Post

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - Bob FitzSimmonds' personal Facebook became a buzz after he commented on a post of his saying "I have nothing against Barbra Comstock, but I hate Sexist [expletive]."

Later he deleted that post and then wrote "I posted something earlier and used an inappropriate word. I would not have used such a word deliberately and I apologize for anyone who was offended. I was trying to say that I don't appreciate sexist stereotypes and apparently used one myself. I have removed the post."

This comes days after state Senator Steve Martin was blasted for calling pregnant women "hosts" instead of mothers.

Democrats say these are clear examples of the right's "war on women."

But both gentlemen involved say that's not true. Martin says his comments were taken out of context. FitzSimmonds says his comment was just a typo.

Senator Martin clarified his comments in a statement that read:

"As one of eight children, a father, grandfather, uncle, and great uncle, anyone can look at my life and legislative history to know that recent attacks directed at me are based on incorrect assertions and are completely unjust. Obviously, I don't see my mother, six sisters, nieces, daughter-in-law, friends, colleagues, or any other mother or expectant mother as just a "host" of the child they bear in their womb. My writing, in response to an attack that a number of pro-life legislators received via a Valentines card, was playing their argument, within that very card, back to them. The parenthetical statement that followed immediately after the word "host," made it clear I see them as mothers, not hosts.

My comments were globally visible for seven days before a person at NARAL finally found a national media outlet willing to run with her misrepresentation of my writing. She has made her personal vendetta aimed at me clear to her friends and colleagues, even giving a two year old reason as to why.

Of the hundreds of vile communications my office and I have received, very few are from within the state of VA, but from those few there have been multiple communications. That is consistent with our communications on abortion-related issues in previous years. I referred to most of these emails as vile, and do not use the term lightly. Many of the screen names used in sending them are designed to create sexual imagery and vulgarly describe body parts, among other things. I would call those vile.

Some of the communications we received did not stop with expressing anger at what individuals incorrectly believed I had said -- or with me personally -- but included disparaging and hostile comments about several women in my family. Some of these inappropriate attacks have even referred to my granddaughters by name (both of whom are very young children)."

Lawmakers were speaking out about the issue Wednesday.

"A lot of times over here people will say things that are taken out of context," says Del. Riley Ingram. "They have words or use words that they misspeak. I think that is what happened with Steve."

"I think it is disturbing," says Del. Eileen Filler. "I think there is clearly a continued war on women, and I believe it just shows insensitivity."

Senator Martin goes on to say his office has received many emails and messages since this comment.

He says many have been hostile comments about several women in his own family. He says some of these inappropriate attacks have even referred to his granddaughters by name both of whom are very young children.


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