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.”

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.

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

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated