Council Member Gaffney,
It’s unfortunate that I have to write this publicly, but I don’t have an alternative. You’ve banned me from your Facebook page when I defended a local politician you were busy accusing of murder, and you’re the sole member of the city council I’ve never run into at any public event or community meeting, ever. I’d call you, but you have a nasty habit of turning your messages over to the local blog Turtleboy Sports.
Actually, it’s that blog that I want you to address. On that site, I was recently told that I should “probably” kill myself. In the same post, the author suggested that a few other people here in Worcester might do the same.
Where do you stand on suicide, Council Member Gaffney?
Don’t worry; the blog has not driven me to contemplate suicide, so you won’t have that on your hands. But suicide isn’t a joke, and I do fear that Turtleboy Sports might cause others to do so. I wrote about my fears, actually. You’ve probably seen the post already – it’s receive lots of shares – but if you haven’t, you can read it here.
Why am I writing to you, and not to any of your colleagues, you might be wondering–though I suspect not. If you are confused, the reason is because of your “special relationship” with the blog. You actually support if financially, at the very least through constant advertising. I think you might be the most constant advertiser they have, actually. And while I’ve never seen a politician do this before, you paid to promote at least one of their articles. When they accused the city’s mayor of being an accomplice to murder because of his opinions on undocumented immigration, you actually shared that article on your “people’s councilor” Facebook page, and then paid Facebook to place that ad in people’s newsfeeds as sponsored content.
On April 5, you posted to your Facebook page a Turtleboy Sports article urging people to vote for that website as Worcester’s best news outlet. You seem to really love Turtleboy Sports, Michael Gaffney.
And, as I mentioned, people’s calls to your voicemail end up in the hands of Turtleboy Sports. Maybe you send them as mp3s; maybe you post them yourself. I don’t know.
When I and two others were told it would be okay if we killed ourselves – do you know what was right there on the page? Your face, which you paid Turtleboy Sports to put there. That’s right: below text saying it wouldn’t matter if three of your constituents committed suicide was a picture of “Attorney Gaffney.”
Will you speak out publicly on this? Will you condemn what was written? A lot of us in Worcester think you have a moral responsibility to do so, given how close your relationship to the blog is.
Will you speak out against the Turtleboy bullying people? I wrote about that in the article I linked above. Maybe you could convince them to stop, if you threatened to pull your advertising.
Also, what about sexualizing children? Can you speak out about that, Council Member Gaffney? You see, Turtleboy wrote about the girl who became famous for saying, “Catch me outside.” While she had certainly gone viral, and many people were talking about her, Turtleboy Sports took it a step further, wondering about whether she would do porn when she turned 18. But they didn’t stop there: they talked about her current sex life. A child of 13 years old had her possible sex life discussed on Turtleboy Sports. I’m guessing you saw it, but if you didn’t, they wrote:
My only question is this – how old will she be when she finally decides to do porn? Because it’s not a matter of if,
but when. Does anyone out there thinks [sic] this chick is a virgin? Anyone? There’s a 1,000% chance you will see her in the middle of a dick sandwich before you die. More than likely her first film will be called “Cash me outside,” and will involve several male actors who throw cash on her in an alley outside while she screams “how bow dah?” Then the’ll take all the money, jump back in the bang bus, and giggle as they leave her in the alley without her clothes.
“Dick sandwich,” Michael Gaffney. She’s 13, maybe 14 now.
Do you agree with Turtleboy? Do you also think she’s a “gutter slug”? Surely a man whose wife has pulled papers to run for school committee couldn’t support something like that…could he? Your picture was below that quote, too.
Where do you stand on sexualizing children, Council Member Gaffney?
Maybe you think to yourself: no one is responsible or what Worcester Magazine or the Telegram and Gazette write, so I’m not responsible for speaking out about Turtleboy Sports. But that’s not a good analogy. Those are both longstanding news sources that are not notorious for spreading hate. Also, the articles I reference are not aberrations; they are pretty standard stuff for Turtleboy. And, more to the point, they are not connected solely to one single city council member.
Michael Gaffney, you are a member of the city council, and you have a moral duty to set a positive example. You like to take credit for the decrease in crime in our public schools, but don’t you think that your open support for Turtleboy Sports – including the calls to suicide, the bullying, the sexualizing of children, all of this, without a slight hint of disagreement on your part – might perhaps suggest to kids that these are all ways that grownups, including city leaders, should act?
What message are you sending to the kids of Worcester?
What will you do, Michael Gaffney?
cc: The people of Worcester
P.S.: To everyone else, I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t point out that suicide is no joke. If you somehow got to this page because you were searching “suicide” on Google, and are considering it, please, please don’t do it. Call 800-273-TALK (8255).