As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was being sworn in to Congress on Thursday, a video apparently intending to smear the young Democrat was being widely shared on Twitter. But attempts to bash the freshman congresswoman backfired after the clip, which shows a college-aged Ocasio-Cortez dancing gleefully, went viral.
The video originated from a right-wing Twitter account that was trying to peddle an allegedly scandalous video of Ocasio-Cortez dancing. It was watermarked as a LiveLeak video purportedly filmed while the congresswoman was in “high school.”
“Here is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is,” tweeted AnonymousQ1776, an account with apparent ties to QAnon conspiracy theorists. “High School video of ‘Sandy’ Ocasio-Cortez.”
The clip is actually from a longer video filmed while Ocasio-Cortez was a student at Boston University ― not while she was in high school, as the original poster suggested.
It was filmed for the university’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, Eric Calvin Baker, a 2013 Boston University alum who helped make the video, told HuffPost.
Baker, who is currently in graduate school at Syracuse University, said it was filmed when viral dance videos were “a fad” in 2010. Ocasio-Cortez may have been “20 or 21,” he said.
“We were student ambassadors at the Howard Thurman Center, and Sandy [Ocasio-Cortez’ nickname] was like the face of the center,” Baker said. “So Julian Jensen [also in the video] and I cast her and our other friends.”
This video is a “Lisztomania” Brat Pack Mashup, a homage to an earlier viral video that mashed up the 2009 song by the band Phoenix with the dance scene from the 1985 cult classic “The Breakfast Club.” Phoenix played a show in Boston later that semester.
In 2010, the then-assistant director of the center told the university’s media website, BU Today, that the the video showcased the “vibrancy and spirit of our community.”
Many on Twitter seemed to find the short clip endearing and relatable, rather than controversial.
Baker didn’t seem surprised at the video going viral, given the recent rise in media attention following Ocasio-Cortez’s victory.
“I realized when she [Ocasio-Cortez] was running [for Congress] that this video may pop up,” Baker said. “I use it for my portfolio still … but I disabled comments because people found it and made it way too political for what it is is, which is really just a dance party on a roof.”
By Thursday evening, the congresswoman hadn’t publicly responded to the clip of her dancing, and a representative for Ocasio-Cortez did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
However, Ally Sheedy, who starred in the original “Breakfast Club,” did weigh in on the congresswoman’s performance.
“I LOVE THIS,” she tweeted Thursday night.
This story has been updated with a tweet from Ally Sheedy.