Black GOP staffer fired for Facebook complaint about primary opponent’s ‘white privilege’
The Hartford Courant reported that a Republican consultant was fired Thursday after she complained on Facebook about the “white privilege” of her employer’s opponent.
Regina V. Ross Roundtree had been in the employ of Penny Bacchiochi, a Republican candidate for the Connecticut lieutenant governor, until she wrote on Facebook that the “white privilege” demonstrated by Bacchiochi’s Republican opponent in the primary, Heather Bond Somers, turned off potential voters.
“People think what they think, but help the party out and don’t plaster your complete sense of privilege,” Roundtree wrote in the post, which has since been deleted. “This is an example of what is sometimes phrased as ‘white privilege.’ The way Heather [Bond Somers] talks. The arrogance and belittlement of Penny’s and her family’s feelings or any other person who has experienced racism. Our feelings or the fact that we may say something is an embarrassment to the party.”
When candidate Somers discovered that an operative for her Republican opponent had described her as possessing “white privilege,” she demanded that Bacchiochi disavow the “defamatory comments.”
In a statement released to the press, Somers’ campaign said that “[w]hile a Republican primary may become very heated over the discussion of a candidate’s record and vision there is no place for the personal, divisive and defamatory assertions which are becoming common from the Bacchiochi camp. The Heather Somers campaign calls on Bacchiochi to immediately disavow herself of these divisive comments which have no place in the Republican Party or in public discourse.”
Bacchiochi not only disavowed the comments, she fired Roundtree from her campaign staff, telling the Courant that her “comments are unacceptable and were in no way made with permission from my campaign. The campaign had no prior knowledge of the statements attributed to her that were made on a third party social media web site. The campaign has severed all ties with Ms. Roundtree.”
This is not the first time Somers has accused Bacchiochi — whose husband and four stepsons are African-American — of making race an issue. In May, the Courant reported that after Bacchiochi mentioned that some Republicans had criticized her family, Somers said that the attempt to make race an issue in the primary was “nonsense.”
“Our party needs to stay focused on what is most important for our state,” she said, “and this nonsense has only led to confusion and distraction.”
[Image of Regina Roundtree via her official Facebook page]