Rob Lowe is in hot water on social media after a poorly received joke about Elizabeth Warren's 2020 presidential campaign announcement.
Warren formally announced her intentions to run for the democratic party's presidential nomination on Saturday, after months of speculation. Warren is a high ranking senator with a lot of influence in her party, though she is perhaps best known for her Native American heritage. After her announcement, there were many ill-fated jokes about the senator's ancestry, Lowe's being one of them.
"Elizabeth Warren would bring a whole new meaning to Commander in 'Chief,'" Lowe tweeted on Saturday afternoon.
The post was poorly received on Twitter, and regarded by many as tasteless and even racist. The actor deleted the tweet before long, although the backlash remains.
"That's not funny," wrote actor, Vincent D'Onofrio.
Food Network personality and Facts of Life alum, Valerie Bertinelli also chimed in, writing, "Don't. Jesus."
In their outrage at Lowe, many on social media also made reference to his 1988 sex tape scandal, in which he was recorded having intercourse with a 16-year-old girl. Lowe was 24 years old at the time, and although she was old enough to consent in Georgia at the time, it was illegal to film the sex acts.
"Wow. I expect better from a man that makes sex tapes with minors," wrote comedian Tony Posnanski.
Wow. I expect better from a man that makes sex tapes with minors.— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) February 10, 2019
Lowe did his best to defend himself, in a tweet posted late on Saturday night then another early on Sunday morning. The actor did not apologize in either post, spurring Twitter users to insist on an unqualified apology.
"I deleted my Elizabeth Warren tweet. It was a joke and some peeps got upset, and that’s never my intention," he wrote. "On the GOOD side: I just got to use the Oxford comma!"
When social media was unimpressed, Lowe logged back on the next morning.
I deleted my Elizabeth Warren tweet. It was a joke and some peeps got upset, and that’s never my intention. On the GOOD side: I just got to use the Oxford comma!— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 10, 2019
"Observation: many polarizing politicians actually LIKE each other, privately help each other, then publicly stir the pot, playing for votes," he wrote. "That’s fine. Only thing wrong with it is when we buy it whole cloth, breeding intolerance, anger and total inability to laugh at ANYTHING."
Again, fans were displeased. In the ensuing hours, fans re-circulated photos of Lowe posing with Trump administration officials, a video of him endorsing Trump for president in 2011, and other moments that looked unpopular through a modern lens.
Observation: many polarizing politicians actually LIKE each other, privately help each other, then publicly stir the pot, playing for votes. That’s fine. Only thing wrong with it is when we buy it whole cloth, breeding intolerance, anger and total inability to laugh at ANYTHING.— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) February 10, 2019
Warren has been criticized for rhetoric on Native American ancestry many times. The senator has spoken about having a Native American background for years, and President Trump himself publicly mocked her for it on several occasions.
In response, Warren released the results of a DNA test, showing that she had Native American ancestry many generations back, although her genetics are mostly European. Warren's supporters than criticized her for capitulating to the president, and she has tried to distance herself from the whole story.