A New Jersey school board member is facing major backlash over a social media post of his that compared Vice President Kamala Harris to a prostitute.
The controversy goes back to a video posted on Facebook by pro-Trump comedian Terence K. Williams, who went on a rant about Harris and immigration. The racy bit drew a lot of online comments — one of them from Linden school board member Gregory Martucci, who wrote: “She is right off the wingnut streets of San Francisco what do you expect from a street walker who has no clue about America.”
The comments infuriated town Mayor Derek Armstead.
“I mean, what message are you sending to our young people? That Kamala Harris is a ‘wingnut’ or a street walker, which essentially means prostitute, let’s clear the air here,” Armstead said. “I will do everything humanly possible to make sure that we don’t have people who think that way on our boards who represent our children and represent the city.”
When asked if he wanted to see Martucci go, Armstead said “Yes. I’ll help him leave.”
No one answered the door at Martucci’s home on Tuesday, but in a text message to NBC New York, he issued a sudden apology, saying in part: “This was an offensive comment which does not reflect who I am in both my private and public lives. I assure you that I will continue to support all women and all cultures. I would ask each of you to be receptive of my public apology and sincere regret for this injurious comment.”
Community activist Cleadel Waye thinks Martucci should blast his apology all over social media just as he did his comments about Vice-President Harris.
“He degraded her, for what purpose? For what reason?” asked Waye. “For me as a woman of color, as a Black woman, as an African-American, I find it to be very upsetting. I don’t take it lightly, because words do matter.”
When asked if he planned to voluntarily resign, Martucci responded “no comment.” A school district spokesman said the superintendent and board are aware of the matter and are reviewing it. The district was hosting a virtual board meeting Tuesday night, where it was highly likely that the controversy would be brought up by someone.