Allegations that supporters of Bernie Sanders have been harassing people on social media for preferring Hillary Clinton have become a nettlesome issue for the Sanders campaign.
The “Bernie Bros”—a term coined to described the outspoken, passionate supporters of Sanders who’ve been accused of harassment—have previously drawn criticism from Sanders’s staffers. Now Sanders himself took a stance on the issue, calling the Bernie Bros phenomenon, as described by his interviewer, as “disgusting” and that he doesn’t “want that crap.”
“We will do anything we can,” Sanders said. “Anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things … we don’t want them. I don’t want them. That is not what this campaign is about.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 7, 2016
One specific charge against the Bernie Bros is that they often “dogpile” on Clinton supporters on social media websites, inundating inboxes with vitriolic messages and insults expressing their differing opinions.
The accusation has been fiercely contested by Sanders supporters, who call it a “smear” campaign manufactured by Clinton’s team, and that the alleged instances of harassment are isolated incidents that have no bearing on the Sanders campaign.
“Have pro-Clinton journalists and pundits been subjected to some vile, abusive, and misogynistic rhetoric from random, anonymous internet supporters of Sanders who are angry over their Clinton support?” wrote Glenn Greenwald. “Of course they have. Does that reflect in any way on the Sanders campaign or which candidate should win the Democratic primary? Of course it does not.”
The BernieBro slur exists because media liberals despise the left and will do anything to undermine left-wing movements and candidates.
— Freddie deBoer (@freddiedeboer) February 2, 2016
Journalists who have written about the Bernie Bros on social media have themselves become targets for harassment, prompting more allegations against the group.