GOP Lawmaker Behind Misogynistic Forum Resigns; Committee Ruling Angers Democrats

May 17, 2017

Robert Fisher
Credit Josh Rogers

Robert Fisher, the Laconia state rep who created the misogynistic Reddit forum known as The Red Pill, has resigned from the New Hampshire house.

That announcement followed a party line vote by the GOP-led committee to recommend the house take no action to discipline him, and fresh evidence that Fisher may have been active on the Red Pill board more recently than he told lawmakers while under oath.

The resignation of Robert Fisher brings his relatively short and undistinguished stint in the house to an end. Whether it ends the rancor stirred by his unmasking as the founder of The Red Pill may be another thing

"Shame, shame, shame, shame!"

The chanting followed the party-line vote by a house committee to take no action against Fisher. So did a tongue lashing from Emily Morgan, of the liberal group Action Together NH.

"Your daughters will be ashamed of you. The citizens of New Hampshire should be ashamed of all of you."

At a meeting Wednesday, a New Hampshire House committee voted along party lines to take no action against Rep. Robert Fisher
Credit Josh Rogers for NHPR

So ends this chapter in the citizen legislature’s awkward struggle to address offensive speech. The rise of social media makes that hard to ignore and a charged partisan backdrop makes it hard to address.

For Democrats already enraged by the house’s decision to treat a Democratic rep’s barbed tweets on par with Fisher’s Red Pill posts, the conclusion that Fisher’s conduct warranted no punishment was fresh fuel.

Stratham Rep. Debra Altschiller says its more proof the house turns a blind eye to misogyny.

"If there is any question that rape culture exists you just saw it right here, and I’m disgusted with the behavior that I saw today."

Robert Fisher skipped the hearing, which was presided over by House majority leader Dick Hinch, who was clenched and grimacing throughout. He bristled when Democrats questioned his rulings, and was adamant Democrats not be get the chance to offer a minority report.

"There will not."

"I challenge the chair on that ruling."

"Maybe you should wait until I finish with my conversation."

But the discussion - and the votes - seemed almost preordained. A Democrat did present new information he said shows Fisher was active on The Red Pill site as recently as this month. In light of that, Democrats were set to ask the Attorney General to determine if Fisher committed perjury when he testified.

With Fisher’s resignation, that issue is dead, even as the house looks to set policies around speech going forward.

As he spoke to reporters after the hearing, but before Fisher resigned, Rep. Hinch said he hoped something good can come of the situation.

"I think the comments that were made in the past by Rep. Fisher are absolutely reprehensible. It leads me to the point where I know we have to establish rules of decorum in the house."

If the past is any guide, that will be easier said than done.