Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill O’Neill apologized Saturday after boasting, unprovoked, in a viral Facebook post this week that he’s had sexual relationships with at least 50 women in his life.
“If I offended anyone, particularly the wonderful women in my life, I apologize,” O’Neill wrote on Facebook.
Earlier, O’Neill’s opponents for governor had called on him to resign from the state Supreme Court.
“Sexual harassment, degrading and devaluing women is not a joke,” tweeted Democratic candidate, Nan Whaley. “Justice O’Neill should resign.”
“As an attorney I’m appalled at these remarks of @billforohio, a Justice, as a democrat I’m horrified he would belittle victims of sexual harassment/assault this way and as a woman I’m outraged he would equate sexual assault with indiscretion. He should resign immediately,” former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, who is also running for governor, said Friday.
O’Neill’s sexcapade diary was in response to the Al Franken scandal, and included a hayloft romp with a “gorgeous blonde” and a fling with a “red head from Cleveland.”
“Now that the dogs of war are calling for the head of Senator Al Franken I believe it is time to speak up on behalf of all heterosexual males,” O’Neill posted on Facebook. “As a candidate for Governor let me save my opponents some research time.”
O’Neill went on to say: “In the last fifty years I was sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females. It ranged from a gorgeous blonde who was my first true love and we made passionate love in the hayloft of her parent’s barn and ended with a drop dead gorgeous red head from Cleveland.”
According to Cleveland.com, the initial version of the post provided more specific information about the women in question.
The post was met with a cascade of stunned criticism, with users offering commentary ranging from “Mother of God” to “What did I just read” to “Dear god please tell me your facebook account was hacked.”
The candidate apparently later deleted the more personal information about the women, responding to commenters: “Hey I do listen. I have deleted all references to the women involved. That was disrespectful.”
But he defended his post in an interview with Cleveland.com, while also defending Franken and Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is facing claims of sexual misconduct from multiple women.
“Roy Moore apparently seems to be a challenged individual when it comes to morality,” O’Neill reportedly said. “I think that’s very, very clear. He’s been convicted of nothing and he’s never had the opportunity to defend himself and that violates due process in America. The media is about to determine the election of a United States Senate campaign.”
But it was the groping allegations against Democratic Sen. Franken that apparently prompted the post, which the Ohio candidate concluded with a pivot back to legislative issues.
“Now can we get back to discussing legalizing marijuana and opening the state hospital network to combat the opioid crisis. I am sooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago,” he wrote.
A spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party told Fox News that O’Neill’s post added “nothing” to the important national conversation about sexual harassment.
“We’re having a serious national conversation about rape culture and sexual harassment, and it’s crucial for men to take time to listen to women and consider their experiences and insights,” Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis told Fox News. “Unfortunately, Justice O’Neill’s Facebook comments that dehumanize women add nothing to this important conversation, which is actually about harassment and abuse, not encounters between consenting adults.”
O’Neill is one candidate in a crowded Democratic primary field in the race to replace Republican Gov. John Kasich. There are currently five Democrats and four Republicans who have announced their gubernatorial bids.