A question for Aidan Kearney and Michael Gaffney: Do you know anyone who, 20 years after their sexual abuse as a child ended, wakes up traumatized because of a dream they just had about it? Or someone who, even after ten years, still can’t stop the flashbacks? Do you know anyone who cuts themselves repeatedly, hoping that the physical pain of the blade will numb or blot out the emotional pain of the memories? Have you talked to them about their self-loathing, their feelings of worthlessness?
Have you heard from them about their destroyed childhoods?
My guess is that the answer to the above question is “no.” I mean, if you had any idea, would you really be doing what you do? Writing what you write, or sponsoring what you sponsor?
I’m getting tired of covering Turtleboy Sports, and wish I could make time to write about something else, but someone has to speak out about this stuff. If you don’t know, TBS is the ridiculous hate blog run by Aidan Kearney and sponsored (at the very least through advertisements and paid promotion) by Michael Gaffney, the chair of the Worcester Republican City Committee and Worcester city council member. They’ve reached a new low – who would have thought that possible? – by making up a story about child sex abuse, and then creating a fake website to “report” the story.
(Note: if you’re form out of town, there’s no reason for you to read this, and I hope you won’t get the wrong impression from this post. Worcester is a progressive, cosmopolitan city that welcomes everyone. We are proud of our diversity, have the largest refugee population in New England, and have long been a city that welcomes everyone from everywhere. Every locale has its bad apples, though, and ours is what this story is about. Learn more about Worcester here, and plan a trip to the city that was the birthplace of the American Revolution. You’ll be glad you came.)
Recently, Aidan Kearney’s Turtleboy blog got into a tweet-war with hip hop artist Talib Kweli, after the rapper tweeted that fathers should support their children, at least through child support. Why this set Turtleboy off, I’m not sure, but the argument got pretty intense. Kweli did a basic Google search, and found a blog called Buffalo Bruises, which first broke the story of who runs Turtleboy (that’s Aidan Kearney), and reported on Kearney sexually harassing Buffalo Bills fans, leading to Kearney losing his job as a teacher at Shepherd Hill, a high school in Worcester’s suburbs.
In retaliation, Aidan then accused Talib Kweli of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at a concert.
That’s right: because he was mad someone brought up his sordid past, Aidan Kearney accused them of raping a kid. He went on to say he “found it on a website so it must be true,” in an attempt to delegitimize the information Kweli had found. (I sent along the Telegram and Gazette article that also notes Aidan is Turtleboy, which seemed to anger Kearney more.)
Before going on, I want to take a moment to talk about messages and messengers. Aidan (and Gaffney) mix the two up all the time. For instance, when I first wrote about how Michael Gaffney was sponsoring the bullying and sexualization of children, neither Aidan nor Gaffney responded to the argument. Turtleboy mocked me a bit, and then posted an article talking about my past on the left, which Gaffney retweeted. But what does that have to do with anything? I’m only the messenger; whatever you say about me doesn’t change the message: Michael Gaffney is sponsoring a website that openly sexualizes children and bullies people, often those who are at low points in their lives. Nothing about me, or anything I’ve ever done, changes that fact.
Buffalo Bruises, the blog that uncovered Aidan’s identity, is unsavory, and uses a lot of terminology that I would avoid. But that doesn’t matter: what matters is the message. The guy who runs that blog happened to be the one to cover the important information about Turtleboy. You don’t have to like Buffalo Bruises to accept the message. The blog provides ample evidence that Aidan Kearney is Turtleboy, and it’s all online.
The reason that Aidan and Gaffney attack messengers is because they have no argument for their completely immoral actions. Does my past bankruptcy somehow make it okay for Turtleboy to talk sexually about a child? Does it make Gaffney’s moral bankruptcy okay?
All of that is sleazy enough, but now Turtleboy Sports has gone further: they’ve accused someone of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old – and then they created a fake website to further that claim:
Sure, there’s no real legal way to prosecute them for it (that I know of). You can’t prove they made the site legally (without getting a warrant demanding that Word Press hand over IP addresses and things like that), but it’s quite obvious: the website is called “Buffalo Bruisers,” obviously a take on Aidan’s enemy, and the only story is of Talib Kweli’s imaginary predation.
The site even states: “Editor’s Note: We first published this story in March, but have slightly updated it now that the public has apparently been made aware. We are NOT affiliated with Turtleboy Sports or any of it’s [sic] affiliates.” Sure they’re not. Also, this story is the first and only on the site – they didn’t report on anything in March. Or ever. And it’s obviously a Turtleboy creation: TBS tweeted the allegation April 20, a couple days before the fake blog was created.
Aidan seems to think that pedophilia is a big joke, or that child molestation is a fun think to laugh about. In fact, one of the standard insults on Turtleboy is to say someone “looks like a pedophile.” They said that about me, and they’ve said that about other Worcester activists. And now they accuse Talib Kweli of raping a kid. Sure, no one believes them – but is child rape something to joke about? And, of course, there’s the infamous, above-mentioned incident of Aidan posting perverse sexual fantasies about the obviously-troubled girl who became famous for her “catch me outside” catchphrase.
Aidan Kearney and Michael Gaffney, what’s wrong with you? What kind of people are you, that you think this is okay?
Michael Gaffney: Are you going to end your sponsorship of Turtleboy Sports, or is this what the Republican Party of Worcester and you stand for? It’s not a radio station or newspaper or normal website you advertise on; it’s child-sexualizing hate blog. You can’t wash your hands of what they do: as a long-time funder and promoter, you are supporting what Turtleboy says and does. Are you going to denounce what Aiden and his other friends have written about kids?
Worcester voters: Under our system of government, the mayor automatically becomes chair of the school committee. Do you want a person who supports the kind of filth Turtleboy spews in a position of power over our children? And how would the hundreds (at least, based on current statistics) of children currently suffering abuse, who are also public school students here, feel to know that voters decided it was okay for someone like this to be in power over them?
Where do you stand, Michael Gaffney?