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Government

Del. Joe Jeffries Removed From Vice Chair, Committee Posts Following Explicit Social Media Video

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Perry Bennett
/
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Del. Joe Jeffries speaks on the House floor.

Editor’s Note: This story includes unedited sexually explicit language.

A Republican lawmaker in the West Virginia House of Delegates has been removed as vice chairman of a committee and has lost his seat on other panels following an explicit social media post that circulated this week.

Using the social media platform TikTok — an app popular among young people to share and remix videos — Del. Joe Jeffries, R-Putnam, posted a video of himself responding to a question another user has posted.

The video was circulated widely online Thursday. As of Friday, the video was not publicly accessible — but criticism began to swirl, with much of it focused on Jeffries’ having co-sponsored a bill that would have forbidden teachings of sexuality in public school.

Other prominent figures in West Virginia’s political world called for Jeffries to be condemned for the video.

"West Virginia Republican Party leadership should condemn the actions of GOP Delegate Joe Jeffries on his TikTok account. GOP Delegate Jeffries has a slew of inappropriate and vulgar videos with his own sexually explicit commentary on a social media app aimed at youth,” West Virginia Democratic Party Chair Belinda Biafore said Friday morning.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, offered strong criticism for Jeffries’ behavior and alluded to other instances in which controversy has swirled around the Putnam County lawmaker.

“I believe Joe Jeffries is an embarrassment not just to the House of Delegates, but to the entire state. He has shown us more than once that he does not respect the office he was elected to serve,” Hanshaw said. “I am but one member among 100, and his constituents will have the opportunity at the ballot box in 2022 to decide whether he represents them as they wish.”

Hanshaw said the only way he could express his disgust with Jeffries’ “repeated, reprehensible behavior” was to remove him as vice chair.

“Carrying out the will of the people is serious work, and I expect better behavior of our members, even in what they believe is their private time,” Hanshaw said.

In the video, Jeffries appears to be responding to another user on the platform.

“They say sit on your face. Do you mean sit or hover?” a woman asks.

“So here’s the thing, ladies. If he’s not pushing you up, gasping for air, then you are probably doing it wrong. You should be rubbing that thing all over his face, like hard,” Jeffries said. “His nose should be shoving your clit so far back up inside of you that it just drives you wild. Sit, not hover, sit. Push down. All your weight He’ll take care of the rest.”

As Hanshaw mentioned, this is not the first time Jeffries has drawn controversy.

During the 2021 session, Jeffries was oftentimes spotted at the statehouse wearing a mesh mask — seemingly to mock Gov. Jim Justice’s order in place to provide safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic.

Later in the session — and following a meeting of a conference committee that was considering a bill to limit the governor’s powers — Jeffries apparently asked a group of senators an explicit question.

Just days later, Sen. Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, recounted what he had heard Jeffries ask the group of lawmakers.

“Here’s the question directed at our conferees, ‘How does the governor’s genitalia taste?'” Woelfel recalled. “That’s loathsome, that’s vile, that’s despicable — and I condemn that behavior.”

At the time — while holding a briefing on the state’s response to the pandemic — Justice said Jeffries should either be “kicked out of the House, period, or he should absolutely be told that he has to make a public apology to these great people, because that behavior is absolutely intolerable.”

According to the Legislature’s website, Jeffries had been vice chair of the Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services Committee. He was also removed from serving on two committees, including Energy and Agriculture — but will remain on the Committee on Government Organization, according to a spokesperson for the House.

Jeffries was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2018.


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