Ohio governor candidate criticised for boasting of sexual history with '50 very attractive females'

Oliver Milman
Bill O’Neill, a Democrat, said he wanted to speak out after seeing the ‘dogs of war’ calling for the resignation of Al Franken. Photograph: Amy Sancetta/AP

An Ohio supreme court judge who is running for governor of the state has been criticized by his own campaigners after writing on Facebook that he has been “sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females”.

Bill O’Neill, a Democrat, wrote on Friday it was “time to speak up on behalf of all heterosexual males” after seeing the “dogs of war” calling for the resignation of Al Franken, the Minnesota senator who has apologized after a woman revealed he forcibly attempted to kiss her a decade ago.

“As a candidate for governor, let me save my opponents some research time,” O’Neill wrote. “In the last 50 years I was sexually intimate with approximately 50 very attractive females. “It ranged from a gorgeous personal secretary to ...[a senator] who was my first true love, and we made passionate love in the hayloft of her parents’ barn and ended with a drop-dead gorgeous redhead … in Cleveland.”

O’Neill added he was “soooooo disappointed by this national feeding frenzy about sexual indiscretions decades ago” and suggested the media should focus on the legalization of marijuana and helping alleviate the opioid addiction crisis.

The post, which was subsequently deleted by O’Neill, prompted a wave of condemnation from political opponents and supporters, with the judge’s spokesman criticizing the comments as “disturbing and misguided” and resigning from his campaign.

Maureen O’Connor, Ohio’s chief justice, said that O’Neill’s “gross disrespect for women shakes the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary”, while David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said the post was “terrible.”

O’Neill has responded to the backlash by indicating he may drop out of the governor’s race but again posted on Facebook to criticize the “sanctimonious judges who are demanding my resignation” and lamented that “this is how Democrats remain in the minority.”

US political discourse has been recently dominated by allegations of sexual assault leveled at Roy Moore, a far-right Republican who is running for Senate. The claims against Moore and Franken follow the election of Donald Trump as president last year. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct over several decades.