Coming to terms with Abby Broyles' wild night
In what world is the Democratic candidate's after-the-fact judgment more troubling than her seeming one-time lapse of all sanity? This one.
In a previous column, I proved fallible enough to write the following ill-fated words.
“[Abby] Broyles is exactly the type of candidate Oklahoma Democrats should want on the ballot trying to unseat [Stephanie] Bice. Young, dynamic, well known thanks to several years as an anchor and news reporter in the Oklahoma City market and more than willing to fight an uphill battle, which she demonstrated by taking on the endlessly embarrassing Jim Inhofe …”
In my defense, I stand by the description of Inhofe and the description of Broyles came long before she outed herself as a hater of children, willing to point out their acne or ethnicity and turn those attributes into compound-word pejoratives, the second part of which begins with an “f”, has a “ck” in the middle and ends in “r.”
Yeah, that’s probably unfair.
Several sources have told both NonDoc, which had the story first, and KFOR, the Oklahoma City NBC affiliate in the employ of which Broyles originally became well known, about the names she called 12- and 13-year-old girls at a Valentine’s Day sleepover, names that became those compound words. Yet, in Broyles’ defense — I guess — she was really drunk and while that may have led her to say awful profane things, probably, she doesn’t really hate children.
Maybe that’s still unfair.
Maybe that’s still unfair because Broyles has her own story and, she says, it’s not as cut and dry as her getting wasted on wine and cursing at a bunch of young girls at a sleepover party at the home of an old law school friend who invited her over.
Her old employer got her eventual side of the story and here’s Broyles going long with KFOR’s entirely imitable Kevin Ogle — think Jim Nance doing local news with the same pretense he affords the Masters — whose prefaced question went like this:
“In the past 24 hours, there’s been a lot of documentation about what happened out there … From what I’ve read, that’s not the Abby Broyles I worked with at Channel 4. What happened?”
To which, Broyles said this:
“[My friend] asked me to come over. She asked me to bring some wine. We had wine and sushi and a couple of hours later, we were upstairs in their theater room watching a movie. For years I have struggled with stress and anxiety and insomnia. I took the bar exam on two hours of sleep. I mean, this is how far this goes back for me. And she knows that. And she gave me a medication I had never taken before and I had an adverse reaction. Instead of helping me sleep, I hallucinated. And I don’t remember anything until I woke up or came to, and I was throwing up in a hamper.”
What’s she thinking?
Wine and sushi?
Does she know she’s running to represent the good people of the 5th District … of Oklahoma?
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But seriously folks, Broyles’ account is a reach.
In the original NonDoc story, the quotes of the sources do not appear to line up with the seeming timeline Broyles offered KFOR.
Worse, also in the original NonDoc story, Broyles asserted she was out of town on the night in question and not at the home of a friend hosting a party … only to then tell KFOR she never said that … only to come back with a post-interview comment insinuating she didn’t know what she actually said, that she was simply saying “No, no, no,” presumably given the panic she was feeling upon having the story served up to her that she had berated and cursed at a bunch of 12- and 13-year-old girls.
All comedy aside, sympathetic people are likely to eventually sympathize with Broyles in either case: A) she got drunk, maybe because she has a problem or maybe she doesn’t, but she got drunk and lost her mind and said a bunch of unfathomable things to a bunch of young girls, who are probably far more resilient than Kevin Ogle would have you believe and have probably heard such things and worse and just kept walking, though probably not from a candidate for Congress; or B) it really was the mix of alcohol and a sleep med that did it, and maybe her friend even demanded she bring the wine and gave her the med (and put the sushi in front of her, too).
Either way, none of us want to be remembered or defined by our most embarrassing moment, mitigating factors or not.
I wouldn’t want it to happen to me, you or to Abby Broyles, and given that, while likely to forgive her for words spoken in a drunken fit, provided they’re truly out of character and her next drunken fit might never arrive, it is still her post-event judgment, after the train-wreck behavior, that’s harder to forgive.
Even if you remember none of it, and even if your host and good friend told you none of it the next day, which borders on impossibility, upon being contacted days later when you’re presumably sober, you don’t threaten to sue the reputable news source asking for comment (which she did), nor claim to not have been there (which she did), nor say, “I don’t know these women,” nor say “I’m running for office … you don’t think this is something they cooked up?” (which she also did).
Generally speaking, there are two sides in this country right now, and the team you’ve been taking the field for since running for the Senate values truth, detests misinformation and loathes the arbiters of actual fakes news. But here you are lying, spreading information you know to be false, claiming fake news when you’re actually trafficking it.
You’re supposed to be on the side that takes the hit when you’ve got it coming, that falls on the sword when caught or just clearly out of line, that owns up to the facts rather that sprinting toward expediency.
All that, and this.
“I’m just telling you it’s not true,” among a host of other things, Broyles told NonDoc, “and if I were a journalist I would not be doing a story, because it’s not a story.”
I thought she was a journalist.
Maybe she just played one on TV.