Why The Hell Has Bigfoot Porn Come Up In A Congressional Race In Virginia?


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


This is all unquestionably ridiculous. RikoBest/Shutterstock

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard of the strange inclusion of the topic of Bigfoot in the increasingly surreal Virginia congressional race.

If not, here’s a quick recap: a GOP candidate for a House seat in said state’s fifth district turned out to have a somewhat old, nude sketch of the imaginary beast on his Instagram feed. Others found it, and his Democrat opponent Leslie Cockburn, a fellow candidate and a veteran investigative journalist, made it part of the official electoral battle there. She mused that a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica” – along with worrying political links that we'll touch on later – is not what’s needed in the halls of power.


This has spawned a huge range of jokes and a similar set of headlines, from “Virginia House candidate says there’s nothing sexual about his interest in Bigfoot” to “’Bigfoot erotica’ row turns Virginia congressional race ugly”.

BBC News reports that Denver Riggleman, the GOP congressional candidate at the center of this mockery, has denied he was writing a book about Bigfoot copulation.

This rumor appeared to come from an interview he gave with a conservative outlet, in which he joked he was writing a book named “The Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him”. Vox notes that he has already penned a (non-erotic) book about Bigfoot back in 2006.

Addressing the scandal in a recent interview posted to YouTube, Riggleman makes light of the increasingly odd situation, and talks about the possibility of Bigfoot existing. Gizmodo highlights that he somehow uses this interview to show how dedicated he is to the principles of free speech.


There is a chance this is just a terribly framed joke on Riggleman’s part that’s spiraled out of control. As his social media accounts, pre-campaigning, are now set to private, the original context in which the Bigfoot sketch (and other related posts) appeared is difficult to ascertain.

As news stories go, it’s certainly quite bizarre, even by 2018’s standards. Before we dive any deeper into this utterly mad story, however, there’s an important note to make here.

Excellently pointed out by The Verge, his sexual interests, whether they involve this mythical beast or not, don’t elucidate how well or not he’d govern his district as a member of Congress. Although sharing an image like that on a once-public Instagram feed wasn’t the best move, it’s nothing more than a drawing that harms no one. What is far more important a character trait of Riggleman is his apparent willingness to campaign alongside white nationalists.

These include Isaac Smith, the co-founder of a plainly racist think tank, one that played a role in the horrific scenes in Charlottesville back in 2017. He has also refused to clarify whether or not he'll allow GOP Senate nominee Corey Stewart, whose fringe-right leanings and white nationalist links are certainly troubling, to join his own campaign.


We’ve often covered politicians that are devoutly anti-scientific, whether it’s because they have been heavily lobbied by fossil fuel or petrochemical companies, or are towing the party line, or they just have a fantastically awful understanding of basic scientific facts. They certainly deserve derision, because it’s 2018 and the US is the only major nation where climate change is still being argued over in the halls of power.

Implicit support for or even apathy toward white nationalism is in its very own category of moral repugnancy. That, along with Riggleman's hollow policy soundbites, is what everyone's focus should be – not some ridiculous sketch that he probably forgot to delete from his Instagram account.


  • tag
  • bigfoot,

  • erotica,

  • white supremacy,

  • congressional race,

  • exhausting,

  • everything about this is ridiculous