May 17, 2017 1:29 PM

Protester: 'Shame' on those who voted to take no action against state Rep. Fisher

CONCORD — Loud chants of "shame" broke out after a committee meeting over two embattled state representatives.

The Legislative Affairs Committee voted 8-6 to recommend that the New Hampshire House of Representatives take "no action" against state Reps. Robert Fisher and Sherry Frost for their "reprehensible" use of free speech.

Several in the crowd expressed their displeasure with the committee's decision to treat Fisher's and Frost's cases as one and with its decision to let Fisher off without any consequences.

"Shame, shame, shame," the crowd yelled as the chairman of the committee Dick Hinch confirmed the motion. "Your daughters will be ashamed of you! Your wives will be ashamed of you! The citizens of New Hampshire should be ashamed of you."

The Daily Beast, a national news website, accused Fisher of making offensive and misogynistic comments about women in a story published April 25. Fisher confirmed the claims in a column written for the Laconia Daily Sun, where he pointed out his issues with the article in The Daily Beast, stating most of their claims were taken "out of context."

READ: NH Rep defends himself against misogynistic accusations and reactions from officials

UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organization, rallied with their supporters in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building, before the hearing as they pleaded with the committee to hear their cries to punish Fisher for his actions, specifically during his time as an "honorable" member of society.

"Representative Fisher is free to speak, and with his rights come responsibilities," state Rep. Debra Altschiller said at the beginning of the protest. "He must be held responsible for deceiving the voters of Belknap County District 9. He must be held responsible for creating a community that degrades women and encourages rape culture. He should have resigned."

The committee debated for almost an hour over a motion on the floor, conducting two different roll call votes: one on whether the two individuals should be separate motions, and two, if the minority vote could submit a report to the house as well. The committee voted down both motions 8-6.

About a week ago, Fisher testified in front of the committee, saying, “I’ve never hated women” and added that he’s never "going to condone rape."

In the same hearing, Fisher admitted that he created The Red Pill, but denied new allegations by The Daily Beast that he still moderates the page. He said the new report isn’t accurate and "if you carefully read through their slippery words ... they were making a conjecture there."

State Rep. Steven Smith argued for a length of time that with his 20 years of experience in the field of informational technology, he can say without reasonable doubt that Fisher is very likely the source of existing usernames of the "Red Pill' forum.

"The technical details and the merit that exists that is all publicly available information, point to the fact that Mr. Fisher's testimony is questionable," Smith argued. "If he has decided to exercise his right to free speech and lie under oath, there is a word for that."

Following the vote to take no action against Fisher and Frost, committee member Barbara Griffin replied to the crowd's "shame" screams with, "not all of us."

Griffin, along with five other committee members, had voted not to pass the motion.

About an hour after the hearing concluded, House Speaker Shawn Jasper announced that despite the committees ruling, Fisher had resigned.

“Rep. Robert Fisher has informed the House Clerk of his resignation from the NH House, effective at noon today. It is unfortunate that the debate surrounding his actions while serving in the House have detracted from the good things that we have accomplished this session. But I welcome his resignation for the good of the institution, and I hope that we can now move forward with our important legislative agenda.”

READ: NH state rep. embroiled in controversy over misogynistic online forum resigns

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