Former Dartmouth South candidate says Liberals dropped her over 'boudoir' photos
'When I was told to step down, I was asked to blame myself,' Robyn Ingraham says in social media post
The former Dartmouth South candidate for the Nova Scotia Liberals says the party dropped her from the ticket over boudoir photos she had already disclosed, and asked her to lie by citing mental health concerns instead.
Robyn Ingraham announced Saturday she would no longer be running for the Liberals, citing "the time commitment and intensity of a campaign and the impact it will have on my mental health."
On Wednesday night, Ingraham posted a detailed open letter, and a copy of an email she sent to Liberal Leader Iain Rankin on Saturday.
Ingraham said she was very open with the party during her vetting process about intimate images she had taken, and sometimes sold online.
"I explained that I love to show off the artwork on my skin, and I have no problem taking boudoir photos alone and with my friends. I've used multiple platforms to express myself online, some including Instagram, Tumblr and OnlyFans," Ingraham wrote.
Ingraham saw photos as 'teachable moment'
OnlyFans is a network frequently used by adult performers, where fans of a creator can view their content for a monthly subscription fee.
In her letter to Rankin, Ingraham — a barber and small business owner — said the COVID-19 pandemic has been very difficult for her financially. She said she has "every right" to use her body as she sees fit, including taking photos and selling them online.
Ingraham said she believed that when her photos surfaced, "there would be a teachable moment for the community and province."
"Why should I be ashamed of my body and what I decide to do with it?"
Soon after her candidacy was announced Friday night, Ingraham said the Liberal party called her to say that her photos had already surfaced.
She said she was asked to call the party's communications director, to whom Ingraham explained herself "for the 10th time," and told them about how she lives with mental health challenges. Ingraham said she was led to believe everything was OK.
On Saturday morning, Ingraham said she was getting ready to meet Rankin at the Alderney Farmers Market in Dartmouth for a campaign event when she got a call from the party saying that the photos had "made the 'higher-ups' worried."
In her email to Rankin, Ingraham said she was told she could no longer represent the party.
"When I was told to step down, I was asked to blame myself. I blamed my mental illness, something that I was going to use as an advantage for your government," Ingraham wrote to the lieutenant governor, Rankin and other accounts connected to the Liberal leader just before 6 p.m. AT Saturday.
"I was told you had my back."
Rankin says Ingraham made her own decision
Rankin told CBC News on Sunday that he first learned Ingraham was dropping out of the race from her Saturday social media post, and said she made the decision to withdraw.
On Wednesday, Rankin again was asked whether Ingraham was pushed out by the party.
"My understanding is she withdrew, that's what I saw on the statement that she made and I've been trying to reach out," Rankin said.
But Ingraham said the Liberal party had offered her two prewritten statements to choose from, which she then posted to her own social media accounts that Saturday.
Ingraham looking for 'sincere reply' from Rankin
"I posted the statement of lies. I posted because I was worried how this would look on the team that worked so hard to get me on board," Ingraham said in her Wednesday post.
"All I want is for the real story to be out, and for those to know that though my mental [illnesses] have hindered me in the past — they are not responsible for this."
Ingraham ended her Wednesday post by asking Rankin to contact her with a "sincere reply," not one made up by his communications team "to lessen the blow of this matter."
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With files from Jean Laroche