Ready for a filthy political gutter fight? You may want to take a shower after this one.
State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who represents District 14, which includes University City, has long been a friend to organized labor. That helps explain her feelings of betrayal when she discovered that commenters on the Facebook page of Pro-Union St. Louis were calling her nasty epithets.
In response, the senator went on a Twitter rampage, posting not only what was said and by whom. She also offered $1,000 for employment info on one commenter, and posted photos of him and the others -- photos in which some of her targets were posed with family members and children.
It started several days ago when a friend texted her, suggesting she check out the union group's Facebook page, Chappelle-Nadal says.
There, someone had posted a Post-Dispatch article about an education reform bill she has championed in Jefferson City. The bill, which was opposed by teachers unions, was ultimately vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon.
The Facebook post with the article in question has since been removed, but commenters apparently took to bashing the senator as a "racist," "cunt," "worthless piece of shit" and a "loud mouth black bitch." Chappelle-Nadal took screenshots and put them on Twitter:
She tells the Riverfront Times that the language they used reminded her of threats she had received during the Ferguson unrest, so she decided to research the commenters -- for her own safety, she says, although she concedes that none of them had threatened her directly.
She dug up a Facebook photo of one of the commenters in blackface (he was disguised as boxing promoter Don King). She then tweeted it with an offer of $1,000 for details on where he works:
$1000: If you can find out his union membership & who employs him (other than his bar). Must provide proof. pic.twitter.com/BiUCSifaRb— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) July 6, 2015
She says she did all this as a way to start a conversation about race within the unions, where she believes minorities are unequal members: "If you're going to treat a labor family member in this way, you're going to treat minority co-worker this way."
And the senator does consider herself a member of the labor family, having stood behind Nixon's veto of the Right to Work bill, for example. She also says she's received private messages of support from their ranks over the last few days, including from two different union leaders.
Sean Fauss, former member of MNEA and UFCW 655, e-mailed RFT to point out: "The few ad hominem attacks made against Senator Chappelle-Nadal [on the Facebook page] were vastly outnumbered by the commenters condemning those disgusting remarks."
Not all of the senator's accusations make sense. After one of the commenters called her the c-word, Chappelle-Nadal tweeted that he was a "racist." Pressed to explain how that's racist, the senator told RFT it had to do with Ferguson.
Some of the photos she tweeted include children. She says she's taken them all down, but at least one remains on Twitter. Asked why she decided to drag children into an adult argument, the senator evaded the question, saying the photos were public and that it was the commenters who brought this on themselves.
In fact, she seems to be trying to publicly close the whole episode:
Let's move this discussion back to racism in St. Louis. Picture is down. #BlackLivesMatter— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) July 8, 2015
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