Did Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spend thousands of dollars for her dress and her ticket to the Met Gala 2021, held by The Metropolitan Museum of Art? No, that's not true: according to her communications director, Ocasio-Cortez's dress, which displayed the slogan "Tax The Rich," was borrowed. And a spokesperson for the Met confirmed that Ocasio-Cortez attended the event as a guest of the museum.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on September 13, 2021. The post included a graphic with images of Ocasio-Cortez at the Met Gala wearing a dress with "Tax The Rich" featured in bold red letters on the back while standing next to the dress' designer Aurora James, creative director and founder of Brother Vellies. The text in the graphic read:
Nothing says 'out of touch limousine liberal' like spending thousands of dollars on an extravagant dress, to prove that you stand with the poor & oppressed
The caption of the post read:
I spent $30,000 to attend this event. Praise me, lowly peasants!
Post #DankMemes & Eat Cake.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook on September 15, 2021:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Sep 15 20:08:13 2021 UTC)
The Met Gala is an annual event held to raise money for the museum's Costume Institute and is the Costume Institute's main source of funding. This year, tickets for the exclusive event started at $35,000 each, according to a Met spokesperson. The theme for the evening was to honor the opening of part one of the Costume Institute's newest exhibition "In America: A Lexicon of Fashion." Sometimes called the Oscars of fashion, it is often used as a platform for political and activist statements.
It appeared that Ocasio-Cortez, who represents Queens and The Bronx, was prepared for the backlash from her appearance and her dress. On September 14, 2021, she published a post with an image of herself posing in the dress while James adjusted it. The caption read in part:
And yes, BEFORE anybody starts wilding out - NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city's cultural institutions that serve the public. I was one of several in attendance. Dress is borrowed via @brothervellies 🤗
The post is embedded below:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Wed Sep 15 20:11:21 2021 UTC)
In an email to Lead Stories on September 15, 2021, Lauren Hitt, communications director for Ocasio-Cortez, said:
...[Ocasio-Cortez] did not pay for her ticket, as most guests of the Met do not. And correct, she did not buy the dress nor did she get to keep it.
For more clarification on Ocasio-Cortez's invitation to the gala, Lead Stories reached out to the Met. In an email to Lead Stories on September 15, 2021, a spokesperson for the Met said:
New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other elected officials were guests of the Museum at the gala.
Other elected officials in attendance were New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
Lead Stories has previously debunked several claims about or involving Ocasio-Cortez.