Fresno councilman unleashes Tweetstorm on ‘toxic masculinity,’ abortion

Fresno City Council Member Garry Bredefeld triggered a heated online backlash following a weekend-long Tweetstorm railing against a variety of issues — from recent East Coast abortion laws and genderless birth certificates to the concept of “toxic masculinity,” which he called “leftist-extremist” language.

Bredefeld, who represents northeast Fresno’s District 6, first began retweeting anti-abortion tweets last week. He defended his tweets over the weekend and into Monday afternoon, saying “keeping quiet is not an option” after multiple Fresnans questioned his stances.

Bredefeld accused liberal politicians of using language to promote their “radical agenda.”

For example, Bredefeld said he believes the “right to choose” means “kill unborn;” that “pay your fair share” of taxes means “steal our money;” “gun control” means “take our guns” and “toxic masculinity” means “neuter men.”

“Many of those people who differ with what I’m saying, they’re like many of the people in this country who support infanticide, who are against God, who are anti-American, anti-Christian, anti traditional values, against police, and against military,” he said in an interview Monday with The Bee.

“I’m for those things,” Bredefeld said, referring to his conservative values.

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, New York last month enacted a number of abortion protections, including a provision allowing late-term abortion when a fetus isn’t viable or when a mother’s health is in danger.

Last month, Gillette received both blowback and praise for releasing an ad about the #MeToo movement and men’s bad behavior, also called toxic masculinity. New guidelines released by the American Psychological Association also detail how traditional masculinity can hurt men and boys.

Bredefeld was elected to his council seat in 2016 and works at the Veterans Affairs hospital as a clinical psychologist.

Multiple Fresnans on Twitter and social media challenged Bredefeld’s stances. One woman, who said she is a District 6 resident, called Bredefeld’s use of his platform “unsettling.” Another tried to explain that toxic masculinity doesn’t describe all masculinity. Others expressed shock and embarrassment over the tweets.

“Unfortunately, many people share the same feelings and sentiments as I do, but we live in a society now where if you express your point of view, you’re attacked,” Bredefeld said. “You’re personally attacked and called names. People are hesitant and called names. People are frightened and afraid to speak up. I am not.”

Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.