This past weekend, a Democratic candidate for a contested U.S. House seat in Virginia accused her opponent of supporting white supremacists. What came next might be one of the most shocking political turns of the year, although I’ll surely come to regret saying that. The tweet Leslie Cockburn sent out late Sunday night alleging that her challenger Denver Riggleman was “caught on camera campaigning with a white supremacist” might end up being decisive in an imperiled Republican seat not because of the aforementioned alleged ties with neo-Nazis but because Cockburn also accused Riggleman of being “a devotee of Bigfoot erotica.”
Now, for anyone who isn’t well-acquainted with the realm of monster smut—indeed, before researching this, I myself was not—this accusation would obviously raise a lot of questions.
Is there evidence for Riggleman’s Bigfoot … proclivity?
Indeed, there is. Although Cockburn is a veteran investigative journalist who can presumably find anything she wants, the evidence was actually pretty easy to access as of Sunday night. Two screenshots from Riggleman’s then-public Instagram, a few tweets, and here we are. “This is not what we need in Congress,” Cockburn tweeted along with a pencil drawing of Bigfoot with an impressive six-pack and an alarmingly long censored block covering the monster’s member. In the next screenshot that Cockburn captioned, “From my opponent Denver Riggleman’s Bigfoot erotica collection,” there is a photo of Riggleman’s head poorly superimposed on a not-as-ripped but similarly censored sketch of Bigfoot.
Did I read somewhere that Cockburn Is Olivia Wilde’s mother?
Yes, but that’s not important to this story.
OK. So there are really people who not only believe in Bigfoot, but want to have sex with him?
There are! Back in 2014, Katie Heaney wrote what is probably the definitive piece on the unsettlingly large market of self-published Bigfoot erotica. She reviewed the most popular Bigfoot-erotica books on Amazon, including one written by Ann L. Probe, which I can only hope is a heavy-handed pseudonym. While Heaney only read seven of the books, there are countless tales of Sasquatch seduction out there. Earlier that same year, the Daily Beast reported that a popular 16-part Bigfoot erotica series titled Cum for Bigfoot earned the author $30,000 per month through Kindle Direct Publishing, so you might say that 2014 was the Year of Bigfoot Erotica.
You’re telling me that someone was making over $300,000 a year writing Bigfoot porn?
So, is this guy actually into Bigfoot erotica, then?
According to an interview he did with the Daily Beast in the aftermath of Bigfootgate, no. The photos are “the result of years-long joking with his military buddies.” Although Riggleman admits that he’s the author of not one, but two Bigfoot-related books (one of which is titled “Mating Habits of Bigfoot and Why Women Want Him”), he asserts that this whole debacle is a huge misunderstanding of his totally legitimate interest in people who actually want to get down with Bigfoot. “For me, the book really is an anthropological study on all the people who believe in Bigfoot and the different Bigfoot belief systems out there. That’s it,” Riggleman said. “This is a real subculture in the United States and its hundreds of thousands of people that believe.”
Is he a white supremacist, though?
Probably. He did recently write an op-ed denouncing the hatred that fueled the Charlottesville attacks, which is more than the president has done. But he’s been linked to white supremacists like Isaac Smith and basically equivocated on whether he’ll campaign with Corey Stewart, the Republican nominee for Senate in Virginia who has endorsed a white nationalist and met with the organizer of the Unite the Right rally that resulted in Heather Heyer’s death.
Shouldn’t we be focusing on that part?
It’s certainly more important and Cockburn probably shouldn’t have equated a monster fetish with white supremacy, which is a sentence I never thought I’d have to write.