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US congressman under fire for 'Attack on Titan'-themed video striking Pres. Biden

"Attack on Titan" comic books (Mainichi)

WASHINGTON (Mainichi) -- A U.S. Republican congressman has been criticized for tweeting a photoshopped video of popular Japanese manga and anime series "Attack on Titan" which showed him striking President Joe Biden and his Democrat colleague.

    The anime video, tweeted by Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar on his account on Nov. 7, shows the title "attack of immigrants" in Japanese. It shows a character depicting the congressman attacking a giant whose face has been altered to look like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and running to strike Biden with swords as well as footage of immigrants swarming the U.S.-Mexico border and U.S. Border Patrol agents keeping a watch. The video had been deleted as of the evening of Nov. 9 U.S. Eastern time, but it can still be viewed on the internet.

    In response, the Democrat congresswoman tweeted on Nov. 8 that "a creepy member" she works with shared "a fantasy video of him killing me." She also said Gosar would "face no consequences" because the "GOP leader cheers him on with excuses."

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has condemned the video, saying on Twitter, "Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated," and called for an investigation over the matter by a congressional ethics panel and law enforcement.

    Gosar has faced criticism in the past for pushing conspiracy theories, including the 2020 presidential election results and regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

    He released a statement on Nov. 9 defending the video and tweet, saying, "Because of Joe Biden's open border policies, our southern border in (sic) being invaded by illegal aliens," and that Ocasio-Cortez "continues to defend and fight for these dangerous immigration policies." Gosar stated he "will always fight to defend the rule of law." His staff member also defended the video and told The Washington Post, "Everyone needs to relax," stressing that it was just an animation and rejecting claims that it glorifies violence.

    (Japanese original by Shinichi Akiyama, North America General Bureau in Washington)

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