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Author of Nebraska GOP graphic tweet, Jack Riggins, calls it 'political strategy and gamesmanship'

Riggins told the Lincoln Journal Star he faces no consequences from his other employer KLIN
Gender Queer book
Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 18:21:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The person who used the Nebraska Republican Party's official Twitter account to distribute an image depicting oral sex and other snippets from a book about sexuality says it was "political strategy and gamesmanship."

Jack Riggins, a radio host at Lincoln radio station KLIN, also told the Lincoln Journal Star he didn't regret the now-deleted tweet on Friday morning. He also doesn't face consequences from KLIN, the paper reported. Riggins said he was "too close to the story" to host the show on Monday.

Riggins' recent comments on his political motive are similar to the comment Nebraska GOP chair Eric Underwood gave 3 News Now on Friday afternoon, which focused on support for Republican candidates for the Nebraska Board of Education. Underwood's first statement to 3 News Now said in part, "the tweet showcases the hard facts of what materials and books are in actually in Nebraska Schools."

More than five hours later came a second statement from Underwood that announced the tweet had been removed and that it was "not authorized." Without naming Riggins, he said the "outgoing communication director" had access removed from the account. He said the communication director was outgoing before the tweet. The party announced a new one, Meg Kallina of Weeping Water, on Tuesday.

Riggins tweeted in response to Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. She had criticized the Republican position against gambling. He said: "Like fun haters against fellatio being taught to school age children? @janekleeb Well u are right!! We have principles and values, not 'everything goes' policies. Sorry to be sane." A screenshot of the original tweet is here.

The book

The book snippets are from "Gender Queer: A Memoir" by Maia Kobabe. Illustrated through comic strips, the award-winning book tells the story of Kobabe's journey to identifying as nonbinary and asexual. Nonbinary people do not identify as male or female and commonly use they/them pronouns. Asexual is an umbrella term referring to people who experience limited or no sexual attraction.

The book is in the collections of Omaha's newest high school libraries: Buena Vista High and Westview High, the district told 3 News Now on Tuesday. It was previously at Central High but wasn't returned by the end of last school year.

It was available at Norris High School last year, the Nebraska Examiner confirmed. Matt Innis, who filled in for Riggins on the radio on Monday, originally claimed it was in the Norris library.

It's the most banned book from school districts in the country, according to free speech organization PEN. The tweet showcases what many would likely consider the most explicit depictions in the 240-page, most-banned book: the author's strap-on toy used in oral sex (but not liking it), an imagined scene of two men having sex, and fully-clothed depictions of masturbation. It also shows the author's mixed feelings about using a chest binder.

“These are called ‘stories of decline’ in political science,” a University of Nebraska Omaha political science professor told the Nebraska Examiner. “You paint a picture that’s as bleak and disturbing as you can make it, and you put it out there. Then everybody is thinking things are that bad, and that things will get worse.”

The West Des Moines, Iowa, school board voted in March not to remove the book from a school library, according to the Iowa Capitol Dispatch.

It is not, however, in any curriculum at Omaha Public Schools, a district spokesperson said. Riggins' tweet claimed it was "taught to school age children."

The district said: "Books available within Omaha Public Schools libraries reflect diverse characters in many ways, including ethnicity, immigration, socioeconomics, disabilities, divorce/blended families, foster care, LGBTQ family members, incarceration, death and more. These books are not required reading or part of our curriculum but are available for students to read independently."

In the West Des Moines, Iowa, case, the district and a judge rejected an appeal of the decision due to a lack of standing. A lawyer representing the school district told the Iowa Capitol Dispatch that people were entitled to their own opinions about "Gender Queer," but the book was not in the curriculum and parents could call the school and forbid their child from checking out the book.


The Nebraska Examiner spoke to Republican women who criticized the party for sharing images and the book itself.

Kleeb told 3 News Now in a statement: “The Republican Party has gone off the rails. They think lying about our public school teachers is a strategy to win elections. Nebraskans are tired of the Republicans’ conspiracy theories and their weird antics."

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