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Jeff Kravitz/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS; Michael Kovac/FilmMagic/Getty Images

If you're going to try to rake someone over the coals by comparing them to someone you hold in high regard, do your research first.

Case in point?

Right-wing YouTuber and content creator Abby Shapiro—known online as "Classically Abby" and the sister of far-right provocateur Ben Shapiro—was dealt the fact-check of her life this weekend when she tried to drag pop icon Madonna by comparing her to the supposedly virtuous Nancy Reagan, the late First Lady of former Republican President Ronald Reagan.

But as she quickly found out, Reagan isn't exactly the paragon of goodness Shapiro—and practically every other Republican in the country—like to think.

It all began when Shapiro posted a tweet, seen below, that featured a side-by-side pair of photos of the two women along with a snide caption calling Madonna "trashy" and Reagan "classic."


Shapiro's caption read:

"This is Madonna at 63. This is Nancy Reagan at 64."
"Trashy living vs. Classic living."
"Which version of yourself do you want to be?"

But while Nancy Reagan may have taken more wholesome photographs during her life, when it comes to "classic living," Reagan's version included a shockingly callous indifference to the plight of people dying of AIDS in the 1980s—including one of her best friends, actor Rock Hudson.


Replies poured in to Shapiro educating her on what many regard as the defining moral failing of the Reagans—their bigoted indifference to the AIDS epidemic that exploded during Ronald Reagan's presidency, in part because President Reagan refused to do anything about it--besides laugh at it, that is.

The Reagans' indifference to LGBTQ people's mass death was far from unique at the time, given the virulent homophobia that was still the order of the day.

But so deep and abiding was their distaste for the plight of dying gay people it even extended to one of their closest friends, actor Rock Hudson. Hudson's gay identity, though hidden from the public until his AIDS diagnosis, had been an open secret among his friends and loved ones for decades.

But it seemed the Reagans simply couldn't abide it being made public.

When Hudson begged the Reagans in 1985 for assistance obtaining experimental treatment in France—the singular hope for AIDS patients at the time—the Reagans ignored his pleas. He died shortly thereafter.

The contrast to Madonna's approach to AIDS could not be more stark.

Beginning in 1985, just barely three years into her career, Madonna became an outspoken activist and fundraiser for the AIDS epidemic—at a time when publicly siding with the LGBTQ community was considered career suicide. Her AIDS-related charity and advocacy work continue to this day.

And when it came to her friends personally appealing to her for help, unlike Nancy Reagan Madonna delivered, paying for her best friend Martin Burgoyne's treatment and hospitalization until his death, according to her brother's tell-all book.

On Twitter, people were absolutely certain they'd rather be Madonna than Nancy Reagan and they let Shapiro know in no uncertain terms.









Other people sided with Madonna just because... well, come on, she's Madonna.




In a world of Nancy Reagans and Abby Shapiros, may we all learn to be compassionate and empathetic to suffering—like Madonna.