Updated: May 6, 2021 6:50:40 pm
If the race to replace California Governor Gavin Newsom was already not entertaining enough, it took on a circus-like turn this week when John Cox, Republican recall candidate, launched his campaign with a 1000 pound live bear!
As Republicans have been struggling to gain voters’ attention as the state gears up for an important recall election this year, businessman-turned-politician John Cox grabbed eyeballs introducing himself as “the beast” to Newsom’s “beauty” alongside a Kodiak bear, named Tag at an event in Sacramento.
Kicking off his bus tour for the upcoming election, he spoke to the members of the press, while the huge bear was seen sitting out in the sun on the ground near the bus, which was plastered with photos of the animal along with Cox.
— KRON4 News (@kron4news) May 5, 2021
With the massive bear causally walking around behind him, munching on chicken and cookies thrown by a trainer, Cox criticized Newsom as an elitist. While many worried about the presence of an wild animal in close proximity to humans, according to Los Angeles Times, the 9-year-old bear who was born at a “private zoo in Ohio, lives on a 60-acre ranch near Frazier Park and is not a stranger to the bright lights and cameras.”
According to the report, his trainer Keith Bauer said that Tag has also starred in the Paramount Network television series “Yellowstone” starring Kevin Costner; a Super Bowl ad for Rocket Mortgage and has even appeared in the Apple TV series “See” with actor Jason Momoa.
Republican California gubernatorial candidate John Cox kicked off his campaign in the state’s recall election with a press event that featured a live 1,000 pound bear at Miller Regional Park in Sacramento, California. 📷: @sullyfoto pic.twitter.com/gLY3HOL6fk
— Getty Images News (@GettyImagesNews) May 4, 2021
The 65-year-old businessman who lost to Newsom in a 2018 landslide, also released a video in which he repeatedly labelled Newsom a “pretty boy”, who lacks the substance to run state government. “California’s choice: beauty or a beast,” the voiceover says in the campaign video, as it cuts to a California grizzly bear – the official state animal – roaring.
Cox spent $5 million to air a 30-second version on television statewide, his campaign said, underscoring his need to raise his profile, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Although Cox’s gimmick did create a buzz, it also drew criticism from people all around. Animal rights group PETA and state Senator Ben Hueso, who authored a state law banning use of most animals in circuses, condemned his use of a bear as a campaign prop.
It’s shameful that @BeastJohnCox would exploit a bear for publicity. Wild animals must be left alone, not confined to a pen & wheeled out for events. They’re not props.
*As a 501(c)(3) IRS regulations prohibit us from endorsing/opposing a candidate/party. pic.twitter.com/4VqwPyXsmn
— PETA (@peta) May 5, 2021
Many on social media too slammed him calling it “animal abuse”, while others retorted to his beast claim with sarcastic posts.
John Cox knows that in the story, beauty tamed the beast, right? https://t.co/qidX7m3rAj
— Alexander Nguyen (@AlexNSanDiego) May 5, 2021
Is he running for governor or face of a used car dealership in the 70s?
Also, can we just not do this? Like the whole thing. All signs point to this election being a joke. And if you need an example⬇️ https://t.co/w5tszX8d0q
— Jessica (@jesserca) May 5, 2021
— 🦉LiberalGoddess 🌊😷🌊 (@moonstoneowl) May 5, 2021
Getting vibes of Putin. https://t.co/BBt0B9nkUX
— David C. Murphy (@DavidCMurphy) May 4, 2021
2021’s version of Tiger King has arrived https://t.co/M69Bhz3xmh
— Ethan Gardner 🗳🏕🥾 (@ethanhgardner) May 4, 2021
there is perhaps no better metaphor for the John Cox campaign than the picture of a snarling behemoth bear contrasted with real life’s mild, fluffy, and very non-threatening bear https://t.co/o4KaDDLz86
— Max (@maxtmcc) May 4, 2021
— 「FLEV」 (@benflev) May 4, 2021
Agree. As cosmopolitan as Panama City is, in the interior you see crap like this. Not a lot but enough to #SMH in sadness.
Why @BeastJohnCox would do this is beyond me.
John, this cheapens your campaign and makes it a joke. Whoever told you this was genius should be fired!🤦♂️ https://t.co/0Eo0nKkFna
— William “Democrats Stole the Election” Del Pilar (@wdelpilar) May 4, 2021
This….. is really bad optics. Poor bear. https://t.co/cnzCNcXqTL
— Zane (@fugginspam) May 4, 2021
— Jennifer Horn (@JenniferHorn) May 4, 2021
This is like a 1880s campaign strategy. Combo stump speech and circus https://t.co/AjmOksyHAz
— Wilmington, NC Serpentarium Fan (@cob_is_online) May 4, 2021
Cox is running on a platform of performative animal abuse, I guess. https://t.co/Riw0leNBGI
— Constantine Singer (@ajaxsinger) May 4, 2021
Incredibly cringe and also — animal abuse. CA politics are for literal babies https://t.co/smOwGrzRpc
— SLAY Guevara ⛓ (@broken_altar) May 4, 2021
A sick and appalling spectacle. Shame on John Cox for approving this exploit. Def motivated me to donate to Newsom.
— michelle (@shelysais) May 5, 2021
Along with Cox, the current Democratic governor is being challenged on the Republican side by former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Olympian and reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner. She also released a campaign video introducing herself as a “compassionate disrupter” who could help the state reclaim its “true identity, to bring back the gold to the Golden State.”
However, after backlash, Cox himself now has started to complain as the bear’s presence stole his thunder. “The coverage yesterday was all about the bear,” Cox was quoted by SF Gate, before urging the media to focus on Newsom’s policies that make California “unlivable and dangerous.”
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