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Lauren Boebert apologizes after being removed from ‘Beetlejuice’ performance

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., a member of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 14, 2023. (Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press)
Representative sorry actions or words caused harm: ‘I simply fell short of my values’

EEmbattled U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert issued an apology Friday evening for her behavior during a performance of “Beetlejuice” in Denver on Sunday, saying she “fell short of my values.”

The Republican congresswoman, who was ejected from the musical along with a male companion, also apologized for misleading reporters when her campaign’s manager told news outlets she hadn’t been vaping inside a theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Video obtained by 9News through an open records request refuted that claim.

“The past few days have been difficult and humbling, and I’m truly sorry for the unwanted attention my Sunday evening in Denver has brought to the community,” Boebert’s statement said. “While none of my actions or words as a private citizen that night were intended to be malicious or meant to cause harm, the reality is they did and I regret that.”

She added: “There’s no perfect blueprint for going through a public and difficult divorce, which over the past few months has made for a challenging personal time for me and my entire family. I’ve tried to handle it with strength and grace as best I can, but I simply fell short of my values on Sunday. That’s unacceptable and I’m sorry.”

Boebert filed for divorce from her husband, Jayson, in April. A different man accompanied her to the “Beetlejuice” performance Sunday. The pair were captured on surveillance video holding hands as they left the Buell Theater. The video also appeared to show Boebert’s male companion groping the congresswoman’s breasts during the performance.

Theater officials told The Colorado Sun on Monday that two patrons were “escorted from the theater” Sunday, but declined to say who they were, citing privacy concerns. However, surveillance video obtained by The Colorado Sun and other news outlets, as well as Boebert’s 2024 reelection campaign manager, confirmed it was the congresswoman.

Brian Kitts, director of marketing and communications for Denver Arts and Venues, said the patrons were talking loudly, vaping and using cameras during the performance. They were warned during an intermission, but the behavior continued into the second act, at which point the two were asked to leave.

As they were being escorted from the property, the two people said “stuff like ‘do you know who I am,’ ‘I am on the board,’ (and) ‘I will be contacting the mayor,’” according to a security incident report obtained by The Sun from the city through an open records request.

Boebert’s campaign manager, Drew Sexton, told reporters earlier this week that Boebert wasn’t vaping, but didn’t deny that she was using her phone and being boisterous. That was disproven by the video obtained by 9News, which clearly showed the congresswoman exhaling smoke or vapor.

“Whether it was the excitement of seeing a much-anticipated production or the natural anxiety of being in a new environment, I genuinely did not recall vaping that evening when I discussed the night’s events with my campaign team while confirming my enthusiasm for the musical,” Boebert’s statement on Friday night said. “Regardless of my belief, it’s clear now that was not accurate. It was not my or my campaign’s intention to mislead, but we do understand the nature of how this looks. We know we will have to work to earn your trust back and it may not happen overnight, but we will do it.”

Boebert said she has “learned some humbling lessons these past few days” — a complete departure from how her staffers brushed off the situation earlier in the week.

The bombastic congresswoman, who has been at the center of several controversies since being elected in 2020, nearly lost her reelection bid last year to Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman, in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which is traditionally a Republican stronghold.

The 3rd District is expected to be a battleground in 2024, which Democrats and Republicans each committing resources to the district, which spans across the Western Slope into Pueblo and southeast Colorado.

The Sun on Monday began asking questions about Boebert’s behavior at the “Beetlejuice” performance. Anthony Fakhoury, Boebert’s congressional spokesman, said “there’s no comments from our office regarding anything that occurred.”

On Tuesday evening, Sexton confirmed that Boebert had been ejected from the musical, joking that he could “confirm the stunning and salacious rumors: in her personal time, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is indeed a supporter of the performing arts (gasp!).” Security camera footage from the Buell Theater started being posted by news outlets that night.

Boebert’s staff also arranged and then canceled a meeting with a Colorado Sun reporter in Washington this week.

Boebert’s apology Friday isn’t the first she’s issued.

She apologized in July after being seen throwing away a tribute pin for one of the children killed in the Uvalde school shooting. In November 2021, Boebert issued an apology for anti-Muslim remarks she made in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim.

Beyond the “Beetlejuice” incident, Boebert has been in the news this week for joining other Freedom Caucus members in threatening to hold up passage of federal budget bills that would prevent a government shutdown.

“Spending is the most important issue (for my constituents) right now,” Boebert told The Sun in Washington. “Everywhere that I go people are having a hard time buying groceries, affording gas, getting to work, paying for their child care, affording the homes that they live in— or the homes that they would like to live in. We have got to get the spending under control in Washington, D.C.”

She’s also pushing for a vote to impeach President Joe Biden in the House.

“I’m ready for a straight up and down vote on the floor: yes or no, impeach Joe Biden,” Boebert told reporters Tuesday after the Freedom Conference news conference. “My vote is ‘yes.’”

Colorado Sun editor David Krause contributed to this report. Colorado Sun correspondent Sandra Fish also contributed to this report.