Remember Louis Virtel? He’s the absolutely fabulous Jeopardy! contestant whose snap was heard ’round the viral world last May. The writer and comedian didn’t win the final round during his appearance, but his fantastic Daily Double answer (and response) about playwright Arthur Miller ensured his social media prowess for months to come. So much so that the House Republicans’ website produced a GIF of Virtel’s famous gesture to offer readers an “exclusive behind-the-scenes look at President Obama’s final State of the Union address” via Snapchat.
When Virtel found out his image was being used by the GOP, he reacted accordingly on Facebook and Twitter. He called the party and its presidential candidates “horrifying garbage who’ve done nothing for LGBT rights,” and railed against their branding for using his image without prior permission.
He later told BuzzFeed that he felt “gruesome and terrible and nauseating,” adding he was blown away “that they’d use my image without doing, oh, a nanosecond of research that would prove I’m not their people.”
“They horrify me and a sweeping majority of my community,” Virtel said of the Republican Party. “I would never, ever condone their use of my image.”
“I believe the GOP has been dragged kicking and screaming into even the most basic type of gay tolerance,” he added.
Both Virtel and BuzzFeed reached out to the GOP for comment, but neither the party nor the House Republicans have responded. Until then, let’s hope the former Jeopardy! contestant (and man with good taste in plays) keeps his thumb and fingers at the ready.