Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker speaks at a rally featuring former U.S. President Donald Trump on September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia.
Sean Rayford—Getty Images
October 4, 2022 6:40 PM EDT

A month ahead of the midterm elections, Herschel Walker, the Georgia Republican running for Senate, has been called out on social media by his son, who accused him of domestic abuse, lying, and hypocrisy in several posts on Monday and Tuesday. Christian Walker’s accusations followed a Monday report in The Daily Beast alleging Herschel paid for an abortion for a girlfriend in 2009—which Herschel denies—despite running a hardline anti-abortion campaign.

“I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us,” Christian, who has a sizable social media following of his own as a rightwing personality, wrote on Twitter on Monday evening. “You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.”

The Daily Beast reported that a woman who was dating Herschel in 2009 became pregnant and that Walker persuaded her to get an abortion. The woman, who was not identified, saved the receipt she received from the abortion clinic, showed the news outlet the bank statement for money Walker sent her, and provided a ‘get well’ card with a handwritten note signed with an “H.” In a Tuesday video, Christian said, “It’s literally his handwriting in the card.”

In a statement shared on Twitter, Herschel denied the accusations and said he plans to sue The Daily Beast for defamation. But in the last crucial days before the midterm elections, these accusations could cost Herschel as he runs a tight race against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.

Here’s what to know about the Herschel Walker controversy and his son Christian’s response.

Allegation Herschel Walker paid for an abortion

Herschel Walker promotes a hardline anti-abortion stance, saying he doesn’t believe in exceptions for rape, incest, or a woman’s safety. He has also said that, if elected to the Senate, he would support a bill brought by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham that would institute a federal 15-week abortion ban.

The woman who spoke to The Daily Beast said she decided to come forward because, “I just can’t with the hypocrisy anymore.” According to The Daily Beast, the woman had been dating Walker in 2009, and he urged her to get an abortion after she became pregnant. She claims Walker reimbursed her $700 for the procedure and travel costs via a check he put in a ‘get well’ card that he signed it with his initial, “H.” She says she later learned that Walker had fathered another child earlier in the year.

Walker’s lawyer told the Daily Beast that the accusation is false, and said, “All you want to do is run with stories to target Black conservatives.” In a statement shared after the story was published, Herschel said, “This is a flat-out lie – and I deny this in the strongest possible terms. This is another repugnant hatchet job from a democrat activist disguised as a reporter who has obsessively attacked my family and tried to tear me down since this race started.”

Read More: Herschel Walker’s Win in Georgia Complicates Republican Efforts to Retake the Senate

Who is Christian Walker?

Christian Walker is one of four children who are known to have been fathered by Herschel (the existence of his three half-siblings was reported by The Daily Beast only after Herschel started his race for Senate).

Christian is known in his own right as a young gay conservative with a large social media following. He has more than 504,000 followers on Instagram and more than 116,000 followers on TikTok. He often shares his conservative views and support for traditional family values online, and dubs himself a “free-speech radicalist” on Twitter. He criticizes Pride Month for liberal overtones and claims the Black Lives Matter movement enables rioting and looting. He supported former President Donald Trump and is in favor of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

When Herschel announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, Christian initially supported his father, including by speaking at a campaign event for him at Mar-a-Lago in December.

In Christian’s Tuesday videos and tweets, he says he chose not to participate in his father’s campaign after the Mar-a-Lago appearance. “I’ve stayed silent for nearly two years as my whole life has been lied about publicly,” Christian wrote on Twitter. “I did ONE campaign event, then said I didn’t want involvement. Don’t you dare test my authenticity.”

What did Christian Walker say about his father?

Monday evening after The Daily Beast article was published, Christian tweeted that his family urged Herschel not to run for office because they knew details of his past could resurface. “He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all of his dirty laundry in public, while simultaneously lying about it,” Christian wrote.

Christian then denounced Herschel’s absence in his life and said he behaved violently with his mother. (Herschel has acknowledged past violent behavior against Christian’s mother Cindy DeAngelis Grossman, who claims Herschel held a gun to her head, among other incidents.) “I don’t care about someone who has a bad past and takes accountability,” Christian wrote. “But how DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man.'”

On Tuesday morning, Christian recorded videos and shared them on social media, doubling down and accusing conservatives more broadly of hypocrisy for being a party that espouses family values while turning a blind eye to Herschel’s behavior. “Family values people, he has four kids, four different women, and wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Christian says. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values?”

“People on the right are pulling up that I did a campaign event with my dad last year…I did one event last year when we were told he was going to get ahead of his past and hold himself accountable,” Christian continued. “None of that happened. Everything’s been a lie,” he said. “Don’t lie about your life at the expense of me, my mom, and all of the people that you’ve effected throughout your life. You don’t get to pretend you’re some moral family guy.”

How has Herschel Walker responded?

Herschel took to Twitter on Monday evening and wrote, “I LOVE my son no matter what.” He has otherwise not publicly reacted to Christian’s comments.

Other politicians have come to Herschel’s defense. On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Herschel in the race, said he does not believe the accusations. “Herschel Walker is being slandered and maligned by the Fake News Media and obviously, the Democrats,” Trump said. “With all that Herschel has accomplished, when you come from Georgia, and you see the name Herschel Walker when voting, it will be very hard to resist. Don’t!”

Read More: Democrats May Hold the Senate, as Some Trump-Backed Candidates Are Struggling

Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), also came out in support of Herschel on Tuesday. “This is just like the smears they attempted against Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, and it will not work,” Scott said in a statement. “Herschel has denied these allegations and the NRSC and Republicans stand with him, and Georgians will stand with him too.”

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Write to Jasmine Aguilera at jasmine.aguilera@time.com.

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