Gay teenage politician says he was targeted with smear campaign after nude pictures leaked
A 19-year-old Texas politician has claimed that he was targeted with a smear campaign when his nude pictures were leaked because of his sexuality.
Cross Coburn was elected as a councilman for Ward 1 in November.
Since taking his position, in which he ran unopposed, Cosburn has faced backlash after naked pictures which he exchanged on Grindr were released last month.
The pictures were sent to officials alongside a note which read: “Is this in any way proper behaviour of a councilman to represent himself online or a “dating” app? I felt the City Council should be made aware.”
Speaking to CBS, the teenager claimed that the pictures were released because he is a “young gay man”.
“I felt like I was being harassed, discriminated against, ’cause I’m a young gay man on Groves City Council,” he said.
Mayor Brad Bailey has criticised Coburn for not protecting himself more.
He explained that as a public figure, he has to be held accountable and that means he cannot carry on living his life as he wishes.
However, Bailey insisted that there was nothing “illegal” done when Coburn’s pictures were leaked, despite it being “disturbing”.
The mayor said that there will be a meeting to decide how the situation moves forward.
However, it is likely that they will hold a special election which will determine whether Coburn can stay on in his position.
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This special election would not be held until June as they have to wait until at least six months into his time serving.
Coburn insisted that the pictures were part of his “personal life” and he should not have to worry about what he does behind closed doors.
“I’m sorry if anyone took it the wrong way, but it really was nothing more complex than, it’s just my personal life.
“I don’t see anything wrong with what I did, and I don’t think I should be judged for what happened.”
He added that he had the “freedom of speech and expression” to send nude photos.