Georgia gubernatorial candidate Libertarian Ted Metz acknowledges supporters. (Photo: John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images)

Georgia’s race for governor is intensifying ahead of the November 6 election day. The candidates discussed issues in the first debate on Tuesday night (October 23). But it was Libertarian candidate Ted Metz who got the most attention, for getting interrupted unexpectedly and his missing ear.

Georgia’s gubernatorial election is seen as a two-way race between Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp. But the Libertarian party’s Ted Metz has shaken up the governor’s race. Ted Metz was interrupted briefly when a fire alarm unexpectedly went off during the first debate.

But that didn’t take away from the major reforms he’s campaigning for in the state. However, it was his missing ear that caught the attention of the debate viewers. What happened to Ted Metz’s ear? Here’s his story of survival and how it shapes his campaign.

How Did Ted Metz Lose His Ear?

Ted Metz is not getting as much attention in the Georgia gubernatorial elections as his Democrat and Republican counterparts. So, when he stepped up to answer questions during the first debate between candidates, many noticed for the first time that Metz is actually missing an ear.

Social media came up with some wild and untrue theories about Ted Metz’s missing ear. The most popular rumor yet is that Metz lost an ear in a knife fight with Alex Jones. (Not sure on who wins, though.)

But the story behind Metz’s ear is not as outlandish. His is an inspiring survival story. Ted Metz battled cancer, lost an ear, but emerged victorious.

Being the Libertarian candidate, Metz won the party’s nomination without a primary election. But at the time of the Libertarian convention, he was going through health struggles.

According to Metz, it dates back to his days in the U.S. Navy. Metz grew up in a family of U.S. Air Force veterans and he was a radar technician in a U.S. Navy lab. He said because of his exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic radiation over the years, he developed a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

It started with a little spot in his ear. For around 25 years, off and on, Metz has been seeking treatment for the squamous cell carcinoma. But it became concerning in 2017.

At the time, there were no prospective candidates for governor in the Libertarian Party. After he was out of the hospital, Metz—sans one ear—stepped up to the candidacy on the Libertarian ticket.

Ted Metz’s Cancer Treatment

Metz’s campaign sparked a debate about cannabis in Georgia when he stated that he wants to boost Georgia’s agricultural economy by encouraging the cultivation of industrial hemp. And his reasons are closely connected to what he went through.

In an interview in July 2018, Metz said he successfully treated his cancer for a while with a variety of hemp-based oils. It’s important to note that the effect of hemp oils on cancer is still being researched and the results so far are inconclusive.

While studies have shown hemp oil has some results on lung cancer, its effect on skin cancer is not known. (It’s also not recommended to use hemp oil without proper medical advice from a doctor.)

Metz said that in October 2017, he used a batch of Rick Simpson Oil (a hemp-based oil still under research) that apparently wasn’t properly tested for pesticides or heavy metals. The tumor in his ear grew and spread to other parts of his body. Metz said that the tumor behind his ear was a little bigger than a golf ball and had spread through his neck to his lymph nodes, muscles, blood vessels, and salivary glands.

Metz’s dermatologist referred him to a team of oncologists in November. After a biopsy, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.

Ted Metz recalled the squirm-inducing story about a chunk of the tumor coming off his ear after a shower days before his scheduled surgery. Doctors not only removed the tumor, but they also had to remove a large portion of the infected tissue.

In some cases, there is a visible hole left in the person’s head where the tumor and tissue have been removed. But the surgeons used a part of Metz’s left leg to cover the hole where his ear once was. The Libertarian candidate says they used “almost my entire quadricep” for the skin flap.

Metz spent days in intensive care and is still recovering from the surgery. He continued using the Rick Simpson Oil in the hospital and claims it sped up his recovery rapidly.

He underwent radiation and chemotherapy for eight weeks after the surgery. He was then treated for radiation burns.

There was some damage to his facial nerves and his face still had significant swelling in July. So, he couldn’t blink or close one eye and often had tears in his eyes, though he wasn’t actually crying. Half of his face was numb, but he has slowly been regaining sensation in his face.

It’s unclear how much of his hearing senses are affected. During the interview, Metz and the interviewer sat in a certain arrangement so Ted could listen with his one (and only) good ear.

Nonetheless, Metz set about a “Listening Tour” for his campaign, claiming a Libertarian with one ear listens better.

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