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#MeToo backlash hits commissioner candidate

The owner of two weekly newspapers, who’s also running for Josephine County commissioner, expressed regret Thursday after he was condemned for a Facebook post that mocks the Me Too movement.

Dan Mancuso’s post stated, “When you realize most adults in the world still read this symbol ‘#’ as ‘pound’ ... and you named your women’s movement against sexual harassment #MeToo.”

The post, which shows a women hiding her face in her hands, plays on the word used for the “#” sign, which once was referred to as “pound” or number sign but is now generally called “hashtag” on social media.

“Pound Me Too” is an internet meme that has taken various forms on many social media sites and generally inverts the original meaning of the movement, which denounces violence against women.

“If I had thought in my wildest dreams that someone had taken it in any other way than intended, I wouldn’t have done it,” Mancuso said. “There’s nothing rape about it.”

Mancuso posted an apology on his Facebook account Thursday afternoon.

Mancuso, who owns two free weekly papers, the Upper Rogue Independent and Illinois Valley News, with his wife, Laura Mancuso, said he’s filed to run for commissioner in Josephine County, where he lives.

He’s received strong criticism from several people on Facebook, including Ptaryn Roberson, who responded to his post: “One of the publishers thinks its OK to make jokes about women getting raped.”

She said in another post, “The meme is a rape joke ... You guys support rape culture and laughing at victims because of willful ignorance.”

Mancuso, 53, said he didn’t immediately take his post down because he thought it would look like he was trying to hide something. But he said that after local media contacted him, he decided to remove it.

“It comes down to someone posted something stupid on Facebook and regretted it,” he said. “They caught me out, shamed me, and I wished I hadn’t done it.”

Mancuso said he didn’t think the post would get any negative reaction, though he acknowledges he should have known better, particularly because he owns a newspaper.

“I saw it, I smirked, I posted and went on with my day,” he said. “I made the post without thinking it through.”

The Upper Rogue Independent responded to criticism about the post, “Maybe I’m missing something. Where did he say rape was funny.”

But Mancusco’s post stated, “Laughed out loud on this one!”

Roberson responded on Facebook, “Can you explain why this would make him laugh out loud?”

Mancusco said that with more reflection he understands the post was a poor decision on his part.

“People know me. I’m a strong proponent of women,” he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.

Dan Mancuso, owner of Upper Rogue Independent and a candidate for Josephine County Commissioner, hit with backlash for a Facebook post that makes fun of the #MeToo movement.{ }