Instagram Influencer Under Fire for Posting Pic with Aaron Schock Responds, Donates to LGBTQ Causes

Monday August 19, 2019

A popular gay Instagram user faced heat from people on social media last week after posting a shirtless pic of himself with disgraced former Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) while on a beach in Malibu, Calif. After being called out for hanging with Schock, who in the past supported anti-LGBTQ measures, influencer Jeremy Cormier recently issued an apology.

Several of the commenters on the post, which Cormier captioned "Beach Bros," took issue with Cormier snap:

"Time to unfollow, what's wrong with people hanging out and being friends with people who are a**holes? Very Roy Cohn."

"How can you be friends with someone who has not supported our community & done great harm. SHAM SHAM SHAM [sic]. Karma 10 folds. He has shown no love or support of us. A wolf in sheep clothing now seeking to be among us."

"So Disappointed in this. I believe in a 'hall pass' ONCE! but you 'Beach Bro' has shown no remorse or apologies for his hatefulness. You SM influences was wasted and misdirected here. Too Bad."

"You don't deserve a place in our community, traitor filth."

"get a life dude.. the guy is a disgusting hypocrite. I don't care if his view has changed. He's never apologized for the damages he has done to the LGBTQ community."

"ll the White Gays™? thirsting over someone whose self-loathing actively damaged our community, including a number of suicides, just because he's got abs."

Taking to Instagram Friday, Cormier posted the logos for the LGBTQ organizations the Victory Fund and the Trevor Project. In a lengthy caption, he apologized for the photo of himself with Schock, which still remains on his Instagram account.

"I realize the post I made the other day has gotten a lot of attention and raised questions about what I stand for," Cormier wrote to his nearly 27,000 followers. "I'd like to address that now. Among other things, it has been assumed that my sole goal in life is to be an Instagram 'influencer' and while I have never claimed that, if I were to ever try and influence anyone it would be to do something good. So here's what I have to say:

"Aaron Schock and I became friends in 2019. I do not now, nor have I ever shared or supported the views he espoused concerning LGBTQ rights while in Congress," he went on to write. "Knowing him is to know someone who's viewpoint has grown and changed significantly in the last decade.

"To affect change open communication among those with differing views is essential. The support our community enjoys can only grow when we reach out to those who don't share our viewpoint," Cormier continued. "In that vein, I invite you to join me in donating to the @victoryfund, I have already donated $500. The organization works to elect openly LGBTQ persons to protect our community and advance equality.

"Since my post was made I have experienced bullying and personal hatred on a level that I would not wish on anyone. That behavior can never be justified even when it's directed toward those who don't support us," he wrote. "I encourage everyone to fight against hatred and bullying wherever it exists...

"I'm not perfect. I am a normal, flawed individual and have never claimed otherwise," he later added. "But what I do know is hate is toxic and it perpetuates - it is good for no one. I recognize this is only a small effort but let's do something good together."

This isn't the first time someone has come under fire for photos with Schock. Back in April, a gay couple issued an apology for partying with the former politician at Coachella after taking heat from the Internet in a similar manner to Cormier.

Schock has never publicly come out as gay or discussed his sexuality. In 2010, he did not support the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which barred LGBTQ military members from openly serving. He's also said in the past that he defines marriage between one man and one woman. He's also never spoken out about supporting anti-LGBTQ measures or apologized.

Schock resigned from Congress in March 2015 due to a scandal involving the politician's use of public and campaign funds. A congressional ethics investigation found the Republican used the money to "fund lavish trips" and to redecorate his office in the style of "Downton Abbey."

After striking a deal with federal prosecutors to have corruption charges against him dropped earlier this year, it was also suggested that he may return to politics. Nevertheless, Schock later said that wasn't the case — at least for now.

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