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story.lead_photo.caption John La Tour

FAYETTEVILLE — Republican state House candidate John La Tour on Tuesday removed a Facebook post on his personal page asking what the “bag limit” is for Antifa and Black Lives Matter members.

According to Oxford’s online dictionary, Antifa, short for anti-fascism, is a political protest movement affiliated by opposition to fascism.

La Tour’s comment was posted about 7 p.m. Monday, according to Face-book’s time stamp. The complete post said: “Antifa and BLM are now saying they are coming to the country. I wonder what the bag limit is, and where I can purchase riot-idot [sic] hunting license.”

The post was taken down by 3 p.m. Tuesday. A new post on his Facebook timeline appeared saying: “Bla, bla, bla [sic]. Does that offend you?”

Two email messages to La Tour and a message left at his office with a staff member Tuesday weren’t returned.

[RELATED » Full coverage of elections in Arkansas » arkansasonline.com/elections/]

The comment prompted the state Democratic Party to call early Tuesday afternoon for state Republican leaders to denounce La Tour’s remarks. Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb; U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-3rd District; and Gov. Asa Hutchinson did after they were asked for comment.

“I think Mr. La Tour’s comments on Facebook were very inappropriate and clearly show a lack of critical thinking,” Webb said. “It should go without saying that the views of one House candidate do not reflect the views of Arkansas’ majority party. We are 49 days away from one of the most consequential elections in modern history and are focused on November.”

“This inflammatory rhetoric is unacceptable, and no side should be encouraging violent threats or the destruction we’ve seen,” Womack’s statement Tuesday said. “Our country would be better served by focusing our attention to thoughtful policy discussions.”

“The statement is unacceptable and no citizen, candidate or public official should be suggesting or even alluding to violence and threats,” Hutchinson’s statement said.

La Tour, a former Fayetteville City Council member, is running against Rep. Nicole Clowney, D-Fayetteville, in the Nov. 3 general election. He had no Republican primary opposition for the District 86 seat.

“An Arkansas Republican state House candidate is callously suggesting that Black Lives Matter demonstrators be shot and killed for sport,” said the Democratic Party of Arkansas statement before La Tour’s statement was removed.

Clowney said Tuesday her first reaction to the news of the posting “is just to feel outrage for the residents of District 86 who feel less safe because of this. Nothing about violence is ever funny.”

The comment isn’t excusable as a reference to self-defense either, Clowney said.

“He’s talking about hunting human beings,” she said. “The job of elected officials is to protect people. This is a direct threat.”

La Tour’s campaign finance report shows a June 5 purchase with campaign money from the Safe Life Defense company of Las Vegas for $1,098. The company sells body armor and related accessories, with no other products shown on its web page at safelifedefense.com.

La Tour served one term on the Fayetteville City Council from 2015 through 2018. He lost his bid for a second term. He was a prominent opponent of the city’s civil rights ordinance, which was intended to protect any resident from discrimination because of gender identification or sexual orientation.

In March 2016, La Tour made news after social media reports said he asked a barista at a local coffee house to confirm her gender before joining him for an impromptu dance, saying, “I am a man and I can prove it.”

The comment prompted the state Democratic Party to call early Tuesday afternoon for state Republican leaders to denounce La Tour’s remarks. Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb; U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-3rd District; and Gov. Asa Hutchinson did after they were asked for comment.

Print Headline: Hopeful’s ‘hunting’ comment rebuked

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