A fundraiser in Texas for U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker was nixed after it emerged that the host’s Twitter profile picture featured a swastika made out of syringes.
The planned event at the home of Texas filmmaker Bettina Sofia Viviano-Langlais, a Republican donor, is now canceled, Walker’s campaign said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the candidate, who is seeking election in Georgia, “opposes hatred and bigotry of all forms.”
Walker’s campaign had at first defended Viviano-Langlais’ use of the Nazi symbol, saying in a statement hours earlier that it was “clearly an anti-mandatory vaccination graphic,” according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first reported on the GOP donor’s profile image on Wednesday morning.
The swastika is being used by some opponents of vaccine mandates in Texas and around the country.
Viviano-Langlais reportedly removed the image from her profile shortly after the Journal-Constitution story was published.
“Herschel is a strong friend of Israel and the Jewish community and opposes hatred and bigotry of all forms,” Walker spokesperson Mallory Blount told The Washington Post.
“Despite the fact that the apparent intent behind the graphic was to condemn government vaccine mandates, the symbol used is very offensive and does not reflect the values of Herschel Walker or his campaign.”
Viviano-Langlais responded to the tweet embedded above, identifying herself as the person who had posted the image.
“Because of the Left’s need to silence free speech I took it down. It’s insane to think that pic was Anti-Semetic,” she wrote. “Desperate actually. It was a pic showing what happens when fascists demand people insert foreign material into their body they don’t want.”
Tickets to the fundraiser started at $500 per person, according to the Journal-Constitution, citing an invitation Viviano-Langlais had posted that has since been taken down. VIP access, including a photo with Walker, cost $5,800.
Earlier this year, the filmmaker and her husband Jim Langlais hosted a “Texas is Now Open” party where attendees burned their masks in a bonfire.
Walker, a former NFL star whose candidacy is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is a front-runner for the GOP nomination in the Georgia 2022 Senate race to challenge Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), who was elected in the runoff election earlier this year.