Ted Cruz’s Texas US Senate challenger Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has apologized for a college-era Broadway musical review he wrote for the Columbia Daily Spectator back in 1991.
Politico reports the critical analysis included the sexually offensive statement “actresses ‘whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.’”
The musical “The Will Rogers Follies” is “one of the most glaring examples of the sickening excesses and moral degradations of our culture,” O’Rourke wrote, followed later by the remarks about women’s chests and posteriors.
“I am ashamed of what I wrote and I apologize. There is no excuse for making disrespectful and demeaning comments about women,” O’Rourke told Politico.
The review in the Oct. 10, 1991, edition of the Spectator, which according to an archive search was the only article he wrote for the newspaper, offers another glimpse of the former life of the Texas Senate candidate, who has given Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) an unexpectedly serious reelection challenge. It also shows how drastically the sensitivities surrounding descriptions of women have changed over the past three decades: While it’s unclear whether O’Rourke was criticizing the musical’s use of scantily-clad women for effect or commenting on their bodies himself, his prose, in hindsight, is jarring either way.
“Basically, the show documents the life of Will Rogers, the ‘lassoing fool,’ who rose from being an insignificant side show attraction to one of the more prominent political pundits and cultural statesmen in our history. Yet it is produced and directed in such a showy, glitzy, and ultimately, tacky manner, that one cannot help feeling disgusted throughout the show.
O’Rourke added a caveat to his apology:
“One thing that should be taken into consideration, however, is that I was the youngest person in the crowd by about 60 years,” he said, conceding that most in attendance enjoyed the performance.
Naturally, Politico pointed out that it received a tip about the story from “a person who opposes O’Rourke’s Senate campaign.”
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