A New Hampshire state representative made national news this week over revelations of comments made in a controversial online forum that he is also alleged to have created.
The Red Pill, a Reddit community with roughly 200,000 members, is devoted to “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.” An investigative piece in The Daily Beast traced the identity of The Red Pill’s founder through a string of online aliases to Robert Fisher, a 31 year-old Republican state representative for Laconia.
But it was a series of quotes posted under the various identities allegedly used by Fisher that have led to calls for him to step down. These included a plethora of misogynistic statements about women.
Fisher acknowledged commenting that women are “lackluster and boring, serving little purpose in day to day life” and that “it is literally the (female) body that makes enduring these things worth it,” but chalked the comments up to his frustrations after a bad breakup. He also said that after being falsely accused of rape, he was in “a very low place in my life.” In a statement he released on April 27 he said other quotes, especially about the ethics of rape, had been taken out of context.
Additional controversy centered on comments made under one of Fishers’s aliases, which stated that Fisher had a video camera in his room to record sexual encounters and prevent false rape accusations. Filming a sexual encounter without consent violates state law, although Fisher denies ever pressing record.
Leaders from within Fisher’s own party have been quick to condemn his actions, with Gov. Chris Sununu saying that Fisher’s “resignation is certainly in order.”
The embattled legislator has so far resisted calls for his resignation. According to his statement, “I'm not interested in letting manufactured moral outrage over some out-of-context non-quotes dictate whether I'm going to do my job in Concord.”
Since New Hampshire does not have a provision for voters to demand a recall election of state-level elected officials, that means the only way Fisher could be removed is if the House acted to expel him.
Expulsion of a member can be recommended by the Legislative Ethics Committee, or a motion can be made by any other member. It can pass with a House majority vote.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper acknowledged that “if the Legislature wanted to, they could remove him,” but added “I don’t see that that would be something that the Legislature would do in a case like this.” Jasper added that when such action had been taken in the past, it was generally in response to a representative being convicted of a criminal act.
The last time the House expelled an elected official was reported in 1913, over taking bribes.
Supporters of a call to expel Fisher argue that his remarks are beyond the pale of what is ethically acceptable for an elected official.
Opponents counter that Fisher should not face censure for exercising his right to free speech, especially when the comments were made as a younger, less mature man. Voters will have a chance to reevaluate him in the 2018 election, if he chooses to run again.
Do you think the NH House should expel Rep. Robert Fisher? Share your opinion in the comments below.