Florida GOP stops selling mug that quotes alleged rapist condemning LGBTQ+ “perverts”

Christian Ziegler is a white guy with brown hair in a blue button up shirt and darker blue blazer with an American flag pin. He speaks on TV against a skyscraper backdrop.
Christian Ziegler Photo: WZVN-TV screenshot

The Florida GOP has removed a mug from its online store that displayed a quote from disgraced party chair Christian Ziegler, who has been accused of rape by a woman with whom he and his anti-LGBTQ+ wife used to have threesomes.

Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch posted a photo of the coffee mugs that declare in bold letters: “Stand with parents, not perverts,” crediting Ziegler for the phrase. The quote is in reference to the GOP’s so-called “parent’s rights” movement, which strives to remove LGBTQ+ books from schools and perpetuates the idea that any LGBTQ+ content available to minors is akin to pornography or “grooming.”

The mug has since been removed from the Florida GOP store as Christian Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, continue to experience fallout from the rape allegations against Christian Ziegler, as well as Bridget Ziegler’s admission that she engaged in sexual relations with another woman. Bridget Ziegler is a co-founder of anti-LGBTQ+ hate group Moms for Liberty and has devoted her career to campaigning against LGBTQ+ rights. As such, folks on both sides of the aisle are outraged by her hypocrisy.

The removal of the mug is indicative of the Florida GOP’s continued attempts to distance itself from the Zieglers.

Carol Osborne, director of the Zimmerman Advertising Program at the University of South Florida, explained to Florida Politics how the unending saga is catastrophic for the Zieglers’ brand: “It’s simply a PR crisis for the party, which had to cut ties to the Zieglers because the negative publicity is too damaging. Alleged rape, deviant sexual behavior, hypocrisy, lies, and judging everyone but themselves. Not good optics.”

Near the end of December 2023, the Florida Republican Party voted unanimously to censure Christian Ziegler and strip him of authority as the party’s chair amid the rape investigation. He has, however, refused to resign, and the party’s State Executive Committee will reportedly meet this Monday to formally remove him from his position as Chair.

Even Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) – a long-time champion of the Zieglers – has called on Christian Ziegler to resign in the wake of the allegations. “I don’t see how he can continue with that investigation ongoing given the gravity of those situations,” he told the press. “And so I think he should step aside. I think he should tend to that.”

He added, “I hope the charges aren’t true. I’ve known him, I’ve known Bridget, they’ve been friends. But the mission is more important.”

Meanwhile, Bridget Ziegler was quietly removed as the director of the School Board Leadership Program at the Leadership Institute, an organization that trains conservative activists. The Sarasota School Board also voted unanimously for her to resign, but she has refused thus far.

It has also recently been reported that Sarasota police now suspect Ziegler of unlawfully recording video of an October 2, 2023 sexual encounter at the center of the rape allegation. If Ziegler recorded the sexual encounter without the woman’s consent, he could be charged with “video voyeurism,” a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

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