victim

Instagrammer who posted beach pic with Aaron Schock says he’s become the target of online bullying

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Hamptons Baywatch ??

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Jeremy Cormier, a New York-based Instagrammer whose feed consists mostly of shirtless pictures in various scenic locales, is pushing back against people criticizing him for being friends with Aaron Schock.

Related: How do you solve a problem like the toxic white gays who party with Aaron Schock?

Last week, Cormier posted the picture of himself and Schock strolling along the beach in Malibu along with the caption: “Beach bros.”

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Beach Bros ???

A post shared by Jeremy Cormier (@jeremycormier) on

The photo drew widespread criticism from many within the LGBTQ community who are still upset over Schock’s long anti-gay record, which he has yet to apologize for, during his time as U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 18th congressional district.

Now, Cormier says he’s become the target of online abuse and it has inspired him to donate money to two prominent LGBTQ organizations.

In a lengthy Instagram post, he explains his side of the story.

“Aaron Schock and I became friends in 2019,” he writes. “I do not now, nor have I ever shared or supported the views he espoused concerning LGBTQ rights while in Congress.”

“Knowing him, is to know someone who’s viewpoint has grown and changed significantly in the last decade. To affect change open communication among those with differing views is essential. The support our community enjoys can only grow when we reach out to those who don’t share our viewpoint.”

Cormier goes on to say he’s donated $500 to The Victory Fund and “invites” others to do the same. Later, he says he’s donated $500 to the Trevor Project, and “invites” others to do so, as well.

“Since my post was made I have experienced bullying and personal hatred on a level that I would not wish on anyone,” he writes. “That behavior can never be justified even when it’s directed toward those who don’t support us.”

Earlier this year, Will Rossi and Rob Masi, the gay couple photographed alongside Schock at Coachella, put out a similar statement after they, too, received backlash for associating with the disgraced ex-lawmaker.

“Will and I wanted to take a photo with our friends at Coachella, to celebrate our last day there,” the guys said in a since-deleted Instagram post. “Being polite, we allowed Aaron–who was basically a stranger to us and someone we just met–to include himself in our photo.”

Related: After posing for pic with Aaron Schock at Coachella, Will & Rob put out statement denouncing bigotry

“For our own political ignorance, we are deeply sorry,” the guys said.

Unfortunately, not everyone accepted their apology because, shortly after that, someone leaked a bunch of their nudes online in a completely unnecessary act of vengeance.

Perhaps Cormier is hoping to avoid the same fate?

Read his full statement below.

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I realize the post I made the other day has gotten a lot of attention and raised questions about what I stand for. I’d like to address that now. Among other things, it has been assumed that my sole goal in life is to be an Instagram ‘influencer’ and while I have never claimed that, if I were to ever try and influence anyone it would be to do something good. So here’s what I have to say: Aaron Schock and I became friends in 2019. I do not now, nor have I ever shared or supported the views he espoused concerning LGBTQ rights while in Congress. Knowing him, is to know someone who’s viewpoint has grown and changed significantly in the last decade. To affect change open communication among those with differing views is essential. The support our community enjoys can only grow when we reach out to those who don’t share our viewpoint. In that vein I invite you to join me in donating to the @victoryfund , I have already donated $500. The organization works to elect openly LGBTQ persons to protect our community and advance equality. Since my post was made I have experienced bullying and personal hatred on a level that I would not wish on anyone. That behavior can never be justified even when it’s directed toward those who don’t support us. I encourage everyone to fight against hatred and bullying wherever it exists. To do that, please join me in donating to the @trevorproject , an organization fighting to provide crisis counseling to LGBTQ youth – many of whom have suffered from bullying. Once again, I have already donated $500 and invite others to donate as well. I’m not perfect. I am a normal, flawed individual and have never claimed otherwise. But what I do know is hate is toxic and it perpetuates – it is good for no one. I recognize this is only a small effort but let’s do something good together.

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Related: Aaron Schock addresses nude pics, Coachella video, and antigay past in alleged leaked private chat