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Posted: September 26, 2013

Internet quickly forgives politician Cory Booker for messaging stripper

By Christian Bryant

It’s no secret Cory Booker loves his Twitter followers and is an engaging user. But a BuzzFeed post published Wednesday suggests Booker has been showing an Oregon stripper a little preferential treatment — even as a few media critics called the article a manufactured controversy. 

This very not-safe-for-work post introduces readers to Lynsie Lee, a tattoo-clad performer at a vegan strip club … yes, a vegan strip club. I can’t make this up. 

According to the post, Booker and Lee met each other — in real life — on the set of a movie about Twitter, called “Follow Friday the Film.” Both Lee and Booker starred in the film along with Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, not to be confused with the person who posted this listicle. (Via YouTube / FFtheFilmTwitter / @BuzzFeedBenTwitter / @bennyjohnson)

Booker and Lee reportedly had a little back-and-forth on Twitter after their meeting. Sometime in February, Lee tweeted at Booker, saying “the west coast loves you (by west coast, I mean me) :)." Booker responded by saying in a Direct Message, “And the East Coast loves you and by East Coast, I mean me.” (Via New York Daily News)

Ooh, scandalous! The 44-year-old Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, and U.S. Senate candidate DM’ing a stripper? (Via YouTube / CoryBookerdotcom)

History tells us strippers and politicians are a bad combo. Still, the Internet collectively shrugged and defended the two. One writer for The Atlantic calls out Buzzfeed for trying to ruin Booker with a sort of bait-and-switch post. 

“BuzzFeed has put its readers through the same sort of torture that stripper Lynsie Lee's customers pay her for — slow-building arousal, followed by nothing.”

The actual Buzzfeed post shows Lee bare-chested numerous times, something a writer for Jezebel thinks is tacky.

“There is something gross — not to mention unnecessarily stigmatizing — about using those images to craft a falsely tawdry narrative about a politician and giving it a very misleading headline.”

A writer for Mediaite doesn’t see what the big deal is, writing, “Cory Booker DMs a lot, and he’s single, so if you view this as flirtation rather than innocuous charm, so the eff what?”

And some writers believe the post was a ploy just to rehash conversations about Booker’s sexuality. 

Booker told The Washington Post last month, “I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”

What’s interesting is that Buzzfeed’s Benny Johnson has previously shown Booker a bit of favor. He posted this step-by-step guide on how to be a better politician, a la Cory Booker. 

So, no harm, no foul … right?

Exactly. Booker tweeted this out earlier Wednesday: “All right @BuzzFeedBen last time I ever appear in a film with you!” Big smile! (Via Twitter / @CoryBooker)

And Lee also seemed to have a little fun with the publicity, tweeting, “maybe one day I'll be a Jeopardy category now” (Via Twitter / @LynsieLee)

According to New York Magazine, Booker’s spokesman responded to the story saying, “I think it’s pretty well known that the mayor talks with people from all walks of life on Twitter … the most shocking part of this story was learning there is a vegan strip club in Portland.”

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