WASHINGTON — In response to video footage doctored by Rep. Steve Scalise of Ady Barkan’s interview with Vice President Joe Biden, Be A Hero PAC President Liz Jaff issued the following statement:
“Over the course of a long conversation, Ady Barkan and Vice President Biden agreed on a lot, and disagreed on issues like Medicare for All and defunding the police. That isn’t news. But what happened today is new: Rep. Steve Scalise, one of the highest-ranking Republican elected officials in government, put out a video intentionally altering the words of a man who communicates with the assistance of AAC eye gaze technology because of a debilitating neurological disease, and literally tried to put fake words in his mouth. That deep fake changed the meaning of the question Ady asked Vice President Biden. Then, when fact-checkers, reporters, and even Republican pundits began calling out his lie, Rep. Scalise didn’t apologize; he doubled down with a link to the original video, never acknowledging that his doctored version had intentionally added fake words Ady never said.
“Let’s be absolutely clear about this: Rep. Steve Scalise doctored the artificial voice of a man who can’t speak, was called out, did not remove the video and did not apologize for it. He then lied about that deep fake while sharing the un-doctored footage and then blamed it on Democrats.
“Since Ady got his ALS diagnosis in 2016, I’ve seen how hard life has become for him. He often says one of the hardest parts was losing the ability to speak. What Rep. Scalise did today wasn’t just insulting, cruel, cynical, and disgusting to Ady and his family, it was an unconscionable statement to the two million people like Ady across the country who also speak through the help of a computer. ALS has taken a lot from Ady already. The last thing he needs is a powerful elected official using the perch of their office to strip him of his words and his agency. To change Ady’s words like Steve Scalise did is a horror that truly transcends politics. Rep. Scalise must take the video down and apologize to Ady and the disability community.”