A Democratic nominee for Congress in Oklahoma on Friday apologized in a televised interview after parents complained that she had drunk and verbally abused children this month at a sleepover at a friend’s house.
The House nominee, Abby Broyles, a former investigative television reporter who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020, said she couldn’t remember what happened because she drank alcohol and a sleeping pill. About eight girls ages 12 to 13 attended the Feb. 11 sleepover, where they watched the movie “Titanic,” according to NonDoc Media, a nonprofit journalism organization based in Oklahoma.
When NonDoc Media first reached out to her for comment, Ms. Broyles seemed to deny she was at the party. After a TikTok video showed otherwise, she gave an interview to KFOR-TV, an Oklahoma City station where she once worked. She did not immediately answer a message from The Times on Monday.
In the interview, Ms. Broyles said she had “blacked out” after drinking wine and taking sleeping medication. She said the medicine was given to her by her boyfriend, whose daughter was having a sleepover when Mrs. Broyles came to visit.
“I had a side effect,” said Ms. Broyles. “Instead of helping me sleep, I hallucinated. And I don’t remember anything until I woke up or came to, and I had to throw up in a basket.”
Ms. Broyles, 32, who is a lawyer, is asking her party to be nominated in June to face Representative Stephanie Bice, a Republican in her first term representing Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district. A Democrat has held the seat only once in recent history, and only two years. The district encompasses most of Oklahoma City.
In 2020, Ms. Broyles ran unsuccessfully to overthrow Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhofe.
Citing information from some of the parents and children who attended the party, NonDoc Media reported that Ms. Broyles swore by a girl, while also stating that she was Hispanic and referred to another girl’s acne, among other abusive comments. They said she vomited in one of the girls’ shoes, next to the laundry basket.
On Wednesday, before Ms. Broyles’ televised apology, Sarah Matthews, whose daughter attended the party, had criticized the candidate on Twitter. for not reaching out to the girls or not apologizing.
“For someone who claims to be an immortal pro-woman, I am disgusted by your behavior and appalled that you could not understand why their parents are angry,” Ms Matthews wrote. “Your despicable, cruel and bigoted behavior is not to be excused.”
In the interview that aired Friday, Ms. Broyles told the station that she struggled for years with stress, anxiety and insomnia, but had never experienced anything like it at the party.
“I remember starting to hallucinate, and the rest is just blurry,” she said. “I just remember opening my eyes, and I’d gotten sick in this basket and I didn’t know where I was. It was the most horrible experience I’ve had.”
Ms Broyles said the actions and words attributed to her were completely out of character.
“First of all, I would like to apologize to the families. And for people who say I blacked out and make this up, you don’t know me,” she said. “I would never, ever say anything as hurtful as those things, and that’s why I know I wasn’t in my right mind.”
When asked if she had a drug problem, Ms. Broyles replied, “No.”