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Meet the Gay Minds Behind the RuPublicans
Who would win the lip sync?
Images via @RuPublicans on Instagram
There’s a new, arguably best thing on the Internet. While no recipe exists for something going viral, two gay husbands found that special something, and they’re getting a lot of attention for something they posted: prominent right-wingers dressed in drag.
The account RuPublicans on Instagram has gained tens of thousands of followers over the last 24 hours after artificial intelligence-created images of Republican politicos went viral on Facebook.
Using an AI platform, the creators rendered high-resolution over-the-top images of some of the most stalwart opponents of LGBTQ+ people’s rights.
With drag queens Anita Filibust-Her (Mitch McConnell), Cruzela Deville (Ted Cruz), Lady Graham Cracker (Lindsey Graham), Claretta Corrupta (Clarence Thomas), and others, the RuPublicans are making quite a splash.
“Happy Monday! RuPublicans on Instagram used AI to transform today’s most powerful fascists into powerful drag queens. Incredible work! Spread the love and give them a follow,” wrote Facebook user Nathan Barerra-Bunch.
By Tuesday, the post had racked up thousands of likes, comments, and more than 35,000 shares.
The RuPublicans gained over 80,000 followers on Instagram in less than a day after people checked out the original creator online.
But who are the queer folks behind the account?
Rudy Giuliani as Rudy Garland
The Advocate spoke with the account’s owner, Craig, 37, and his husband about the account’s moment in the spotlight during the couple’s stop in Moab, Utah. The two asked for some anonymity due to potential concerns over their safety.
The digital nomads working remotely in marketing and education are traversing the country’s southwest in an Airstream camper.
“I’ve been just frustrated by the GOP’s rhetoric around drag and the anti-drag legislation that’s been moving through various houses and being passed, and I had this idea, ‘let’s put the GOP in drag. How can we do that?” Craig says.
He explains that after an image of Pope Francis wearing a white puffy parka went viral a few weeks ago (the picture is an artificial intelligence-created fake), he began thinking about how to pull off giving some outspoken Republicans the AI treatment.
Craig says he and his husband created the AI-generated image account to poke fun at the right-wingers and their policies against drag and LGBTQ+ people. Craig admits his surprise at the images’ quality and how quickly the account has gained traction.
He says he uses an AI technology platform called Midjourney to create ultra-photoreal high fashion images by prompting the AI with elaborate text.
He and his husband were surprised at how fast their idea took off and was excited to use AI as a powerful tool for good to build an activist platform.
Craig says that AI is opening up limitless possibilities for content creators, but with the tools comes a sense of responsibility.
He says that none of the RuPublican’s content is meant to be mean-spirited.
Justice Clarence Thomas as Claretta Corrupta
He notes that one of the essential aspects of his work is that he doesn’t want any of the images he creates to be misconstrued as misinformation. He points to that recent Pope Francis image as an example of something to avoid.
“Part of the fun that we’re having is that it’s a really serious issue, but these photos make people laugh,” he says.
Craig explains that the absurdity of the images brings joy to those who laugh about them and that since the photos are incredibly complex and beautiful, they get at Republicans’ seeming worst nightmare: drag queens.
Other characters created by RuPublicans so far include Bombshell Bannon (Steve Bannon), Hawl About Me (Josh Hawley), Speaker Sparklebottom (Kevin McCarthy), Rhonda Shanty (Ron DeSantis), and Rudy Garland (Rudy Giuliani).
Mother Pence, Mike Pence’s alter-ego, stood out because the former vice president is seemingly so bland that the drag wears him.
Craig says he’s getting hundreds of requests for images of people in drag and says to stay tuned for more characters.
“This has opened up a door for us that’s still being loaded before us,” he says.
“You go online, and the image starts to materialize before your eyes — that’s kind of what’s happening as we open this new door to our lives,” he says.
“We never expected this; we never planned for this. But it’s opened up a future that we could have never imagined, and it’s all because of AI,” Craig adds.