On 11 September 2017, Twitter lit up with the news that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) official account “liked” a pornographic video:

 

Cruz said the next day that he was not using the account when it “liked” a video tweeted by @sexuallposts the night before:

It was a staffing issue and it was inadvertent. It was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action.

According to the senator, “a number of people” have access to the account and one of them inadvertently highlighted the video. His spokesperson, Catherine Frazier, said on her own Twitter account that the video “has been removed by staff and reported to Twitter.”

For its part, @sexuallposts seized on the attention, promoting itself as “the Same Porn @TedCruz Watches” and pinning the statement “Thanks for watching ted!!” (sic) on its account, ensuring that visitors would see it at the top of its page:

Actress Cory Chase, who was featured in the video, said of Cruz:

I didn’t like that he watched it for free. He pirated that video. He should have paid Reality Kings for a subscription.

While some ridiculed the former Republican presidential candidate for the apparent gaffe, others pointed out that in 2004 — when Cruz was Texas state Solicitor General — he backed a state law banning the sale of sex toys, arguing in a brief to the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that though residents were allowed to use “obscene devices” in their homes, the state had “police-power interests” in stopping them from being sold. The brief also compared purchasing sex toys to hiring prostitutes:

There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.

During his presidential campaign, Cruz also was criticized after the revelation that his campaign cast an adult film actress, Amy Lindsay, in a commercial attacking fellow candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida). The ad was removed from Cruz’s YouTube page, and he said that she would not have been cast if the campaign had been aware of her prior work.

We contacted Cruz’s office seeking additional comments, but have yet to hear back.

Sources:

Calfas, Jennifer. “Ted Cruz’s Twitter Account ‘Liked’ a Porn Tweet and the Internet Had Plenty to Say.”
Time. 12 September 2017.

Krieg, Gregory. “Erotic Actress From Cruz Ad Is ‘Middle-Class Working Girl And I Had a Job to Do.'”
CNN. 12 February 2016.

Corn, David. “The Time Ted Cruz Defended a Ban on Dildos.”
Mother Jones. 13 April 2016.

Moye, David. “Porn Star In Randy Video ‘Liked’ By Ted Cruz Wishes He Paid For It.”
Huffington Post. 12 September 2017.

O’Keefe, Ed and Selk, Avi. “After @tedcruz Liked a Porn Tweet, Sen. Ted Cruz Blamed ‘a Staffing Issue.'”
Washington Post. 12 September 2017.