CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire House voted Thursday to look into online comments made by a fellow House member who's been accused of creating an online forum where users are known to degrade women.
"At any time any member says anything or does anything that holds this body in disrespect, it affects each and every one of us," said Democratic House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff, who called for the inquiry.
But the inquiry's scope is limited to this term, meaning many of the online comments Republican Rep. Robert Fisher made in the past about women's intelligence and whether men should videotape sexual encounters won't be included. Fisher has said his comments have been taken out of context by the media and that he has no plans to resign.
The Daily Beast recently reported that Fisher created "The Red Pill," an online forum that bills itself as "discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men." The article linked to comments Fisher has previously made online appearing to normalize rape and insult women's intelligence.
Fellow lawmakers and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu have called for him to resign, and several dozen people gathered outside the Statehouse before the vote Thursday and called for Fisher's ouster.
"My friends and family know full well I'm not in favor of rape. It's such an absurd position, I'm actually surprised anybody bought into it," Fisher wrote last week in a piece in his local newspaper, The Laconia Daily Sun.
He voted Thursday in favor of the inquiry.
"I think the truth will be out at the hearing," Fisher told the Concord Monitor.
The legislative committee will begin its inquiry Tuesday and will eventually make a recommendation to the full House on whether action should be taken, such as asking Fisher to resign.
As a tit-for-tat of sorts, Republicans successfully moved to have online comments by Democratic Rep. Sherry Frost looked into as well. Republicans have criticized tweets by Frost, including one that says, "we have a terrorist problem, all right, and they're mostly white, Christian men."
Frost voted in favor of the inquiry and said she has nothing to hide. But fellow Democratic Rep. Jackie Cilley slammed the body for comparing Fisher's and Frost's comments.
"This is an absolute false equivalency," she said.