skeletons in the closet

Photo of Josh Mandel in stuffed bra and wig resurfaces after he tweets transphobic slur

Hey, remember when Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said Dave Chappelle’s transphobic comedy special didn’t cause “real-world harm”? Well, Josh Mandel has just proven otherwise.

The antigay Republican, who is currently leading in the polls in Ohio’s GOP Senate primary to replace outgoing Sen. Rob Portman in 2022, just used the controversy to score political points with his base. And he threw in an anti-trans slur while he was at it.

On Wednesday, Mandel tweeted: “Just watched the Chappelle special. Was hilarious and offensive to all — as comedy should be. Lighten up t******s — Chappelle is the GOAT.”

Mandel obviously intended to offend people with the tweet. And it worked! People are offended, as they should be. The fact that Mandel wants to be a U.S. Senator and speaks this way on social media is deeply troublesome.

What Mandel probably didn’t intend was for an old photo from his high school yearbook, showing him dressed in full-on drag–with a wig, stuffed sports bra, and skin-tight biker shorts, seductively massaging another guy’s shoulders in a weight room–to resurface in the comments section of his transphobic tweet.

The photo first appeared online in 2012 when Mandel was Ohio’s state treasurer and a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate. At the time, his communications director said the candidate had no recollection of taking the photo, but that he was probably just “joking around.”

The image has lived on the internet ever since then, although most people had forgotten about it… until Mandel decided to mock trans people while voicing support for a transphobic comedian on Twitter.

Let’s take a look at the responses to Mandel’s tweet…

Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.