Voters in Chicago will go to the polls on Tuesday to select their next mayor and the Democratic candidate many expect to beat incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot just had a February version of an “October surprise” dropped on him, courtesy of the Chicago Times.
Paul Vallas, who lost to Lightfoot in 2019, is a prolific social media user and the newspaper dropped a timely review of the Democrats’ various accounts late last week, reporting that his Twitter account “liked a series of tweets that used racist language, supported controversial police tactics like ‘stop-and-frisk’ or insulted the mayor in personal terms.”
Lightfoot is in a protected class, being a black lesbian, the first to serve as mayor of Chicago, which complicates any criticism of her dismal record — Lightfoot got a complete pass in the media in 2021 when she publicly declared that in the name of equity, she would not sit down with any white journalists.
One of the tweets “liked” by the account referred to the mayor as “Larry.” Another tweet liked made fun of her appearance — social media users regularly refer to Lightfoot as “Beetlejuice.”
Here’s more from the Times on the problematic Twitter activity:
At least three of the posts under his Twitter’s “Likes” refer to Lightfoot — a lesbian who is the first openly LGBTQ mayor of Chicago — as “Larry.” “I bet larry lightfoot is with his family today,” one user wrote last June in response to Vallas giving a shoutout to police officers and other first responders for Father’s Day.
Other tweets liked by the account mocked Lightfoot’s physical appearance.
“Trust has eroded just like her hairline!” one November 2021 tweet said in response to a post Vallas made on how Lightfoot presented crime statistics.
In November 2021, Vallas’ account liked another reply to one of his tweets, this one from a user saying Lightfoot is “beyond human! The hatred she has for the police is so disgusting! How do her bodyguards put up with her?”
In December 2021, the Vallas account also liked a tweet reply calling Lightfoot “the Gnome on the 5th floor.”
Vallas responded to the article by saying he does not “personally manage” the Twitter account and was “shocked when this was brought to my attention because this kind of abhorrent and vile rhetoric does not represent me or my views.”
“While I had nothing to do with liking these posts, our campaign takes responsibility and apologizes, and we want it to be clear that we have already taken immediate steps to restrict access to the account to prevent anything like this from happening again,” he said. “We are working on identifying who is responsible for liking these tweets as many volunteers have had access to the account in recent years, including some who are no longer with the campaign, and will take immediate action in removing them from our campaign if they are still involved.”
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