Left-wingers are defending Democratic congressional candidate Alex Morse after he was accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with college students while he lectured at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, including during his congressional campaign.
Morse, the mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, is running for Massachussets’ 1st congressional district and seeking to unseat 30-year incumbent and Democratic Rep. Richard Neal.
Morse was elected “at age 22 as the youngest and first openly gay mayor of Holyoke” and “revitalized the city” through “investments in green energy and the arts,” according to his biography from Justice Democrats, a left-wing political organization linked to Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Three College Democrats groups in Massachusetts emailed Morse a letter on August 6, accusing him of using social media to seduce college students at “UMass Amherst, where he teaches, and the greater Five College Consortium” as well as using College Democrats events to meet college students and add them on his social media, according to college newspaper The Daily Collegian.
The University of Massachusetts-Amherst launched their own internal investigation following the publication of these allegations because Morse was a political science lecturer there from 2014 to 2019, according to the The Daily Collegian.
A spokesperson for the university commented that, “such relationships diminish the trust and respect that ordinarily characterize the faculty-student relationship and are therefore inconsistent with the educational mission of the university, according to The Daily Collegian.
Morse responded to the allegations Monday in a statement denying wrongdoing and claiming to have only had consensual relationships, including with “students enrolled at local universities” that he met on dating applications.
My statement on the last 48 hours. pic.twitter.com/2RU5ht6jZ8
— Alex Morse (@AlexBMorse) August 10, 2020
Prominent left-wingers have defended Morse on Twitter.
Glen Greenwald of The Intercept said that the allegations against Morse were “homophobic smears,” and asserted that people were “disgustingly (and homophobically) maligning” Morse as a “predator,” despite the fact that he was engaging in purportedly consensual relationships with college students.
Everyone — but especially those who have spent the last 3 days disgustingly (and homophobically) maligning @AlexBMorse as a predator — should read (or listen to this great interview he gave about all of this today.https://t.co/sS3tbkRE6L
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 11, 2020
Greenwald additionally said it was “grotesque” and “demented” that a Massachusetts arm of climate advocacy group Sunrise Movement used phrases like “rape culture” and “survivor justice” in their statement denouncing Morse’s conduct and retracting their endorsement of his congressional campaign.
Using the terms “survivor” and “survivor justice” in this way is grotesque for so many reasons, as the Western Mass chapter of @sunrisemvmt does: including making it impossible to take seriously cases where it’s warranted.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 10, 2020
Vox’s Matthew Yglesias implicitly questioned the validity of the criticism against Morse because the “consensual relationships” he was reportedly having were with “people who weren’t his students.”
Here’s the College Democrats statement with the precise charges.
They argue that it’s wrong:
— For a lecturer to have relationships with undergrads even if they aren’t his students.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 9, 2020
Left-wing advocate Alex Morash claimed that “the real crime” Morse “has been accused of is being a social and sexually active gay man.” (RELATED: Democratic Candidate Accused Of Inappropriate Relationships With College Students Refuses To Drop Out Of Congressional Race)
Alex Morse has been accused of the crimes of matching with other guys on Tinder, following people he met at events on Instagram, and hooking up with guys younger than himself.
In the end, the real crime he has been accused of is being a social and sexually active gay man. pic.twitter.com/UTqDKHfmVe
— Alex Morash (@AlexMorash) August 8, 2020
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, a group that “provides campaigning, fundraising, and communications support to LGBTQ candidates,” maintained its support for Morse in spite of the allegations against him. The group called the allegations a “disservice to voters” because they were “vague and anonymous,” according to a statement released on Monday.
Lee Fang, a reporter at left-wing outlet The Intercept, called the allegations against Morse “flimsy” and suggested that left-wing candidates like Alex Morse are the victims of “defamatory cancel culture tactics” because they are “challenging power across the country.”
Morse is scheduled to debate his primary opponent Richard Neal on August 17 and their primary election is scheduled for September 1.
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