Ontario NDP says it barred would-be candidate for glorifying violence against women

The Ontario NDP has fired back at a northwestern Ontario man who says the party refused to let him run as a candidate in Kenora-Rainy River because of concerns about social media posts he described as "frivolous."

Matt Soprovich said he was barred because of "silly" posts including a photo of his bare buttocks

Matt Soprovich said he was disqualified as a NDP candidate for the Kenora-Rainy River district after what he believes are 'frivolous' social media posts from when he was in his 20's. The NDP said he was disqualified for posts that glorified violence against women. (Matt Soprovich)

The Ontario NDP fired back at a northwestern Ontario man who says the party refused to let him run as a candidate in Kenora-Rainy River because of concerns about social media posts he described as "frivolous."

Matt Soprovich told CBC on Thursday he was excluded as a candidate because of a post about being badly hungover, a video of him tearing his shirt off like a professional wrestler, and a photo of him exposing his bare buttocks. 

The NDP released a statement Thursday saying Soprovich failed the party's vetting process because of "multiple social media posts that glorified violence against women or predatory behaviour towards women."

"In one example," the party wrote, "Soprovich compares women to animals, writing 'you might end up hitting them with your car.'"

In an email statement from the NDP, this was one of the social media posts from Matt Soprovich that "glorified violence against women." (Ontario NDP)

"In another example," it said, "Soprovich describes, in a blog, efforts to prevent a woman from coming to the aid of her sister in a potentially dangerous or compromising situation, saying he was trying to stop her from being a 'cock block.'" 

"We understand Soprovich has claimed that other, perhaps less troublesome, posts were the reason he is not fit to represent our party," the NDP wrote in its statement. 

"Obviously, that's not the case.  We stand behind our decision to work to build a team of candidates that can be trusted not to say or write things that degrade women or glorify violence against women."

Soprovich reacts

"This was a stupid and juvenile post by a 23-year-old close to a decade ago," Soprovich wrote after the NDP responded to the original story.

"Yes I was young, but I do not defend the content. I understand the need for all members of society to look out for other women because, given other factors, situations that appear how this one is being construed far too often lead to preventable harm."

"I do however reject the accusation that this was a glorification of predatory behaviour on my part, whether real or perceived."

The NDP sent a letter to Soprovich stating some of the questionable comments were found on a Couchsurfing website profile, and were made in 2009.

 "These posts made in my early to mid twenties are in no way indicative of my character, whether then or now," said Soprovich.

"Violence against women is not a political tool. I have not and do not support violence against women or predatory behaviour. As any man, I have learning to do and commit to doing that work."