A candidate for a spot on the New Smyrna Beach City Commission claims his campaign Facebook account was hacked and that person spent $100 on an offensive ad accusing his female opponent of having genetically inferior breast milk.
According to the Palm Beach Post, retired businessman John Redmond said he had nothing to do with the ad that attacked his opponent, Jessica Realin, that appeared on Facebook on Tuesday.
The offensive ad, stated, “Possibly due to genetic defects in her family donating her breast milk may pass on her inferior genes to unsuspecting families.”
The ad continued by naming both her son and her daughter — both of whom were born prematurely — before adding the disclaimer: “This is an editorial comment.”
In 2015 candidate Realin, it should be noted, co-founded the Florida Mothers’ Milk Bank, which provides human milk to 33 neonatal intensive care units in Florida.
In a phone call, a distressed Redmond claimed his account had been hacked and that he in no way had anything to do with the ad.
“My Facebook account obviously was hacked,” Redmond said in a phone call after he which he shared a screenshot of an email sent from Facebook notifying him to a login “from a device or location you don’t usually use.”
According to Redmond, he was delayed in deleting the ad and shutting down his account because he is technology-challenged.
“I’m not a computer guy. It took me a long time to figure out what was happening,” Redmond explained while admitting that he had previously paid the $100 to place some other ads.
According to Realin, she tried to contact her opponent when alerted to the ad on Tuesday but was unable to reach him.
Realin said she had attempted unsuccessfully to reach Redmond by phone Tuesday morning.
“It’s a convenient story, in my opinion,” Realin said in a phone interview. “Whoever hacked him had to want to pay $100. I honestly was hoping he was hacked, but either way — if he was hacked, why didn’t he just answer the phone calls?”
She added that she heard back from him on Thursday where he claimed to be innocent of placing the ad, and that she is going to pass on filing a complaint with election officials.
“At this point, no. I’m just trying to get back to my campaign. I’d rather focus on going forward,” she explained, adding that if his Facebook account was hacked, “We all, collectively should be concerned.”