NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart is asking voters to rise above the sexist and vulgar comments made about her in a Facebook forum by Antonio Tee Lavoy, a Democrat who is running for the city council.
According to the Hartford Courant, the remarks were made in the past but started circulating among city officials by email Monday.
In the comments, Lavoy referred to Stewart as a “fat [expletive]” and said she looks like a $3 [expletive].”
Stewart, who has been targeted in the past by Time Magazine and The New Times for being the youngest female mayor in the United States, said the name-calling hurt but she’s rising above it and hopes voters will do the same.
“I guess you have to take it in stride, stand tall,” she said. “This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me by a member of the New Britain Democratic Party but by a candidate? I think that is a poor representation of who we want running the city of New Britain.”
Lavoy issued an apology on Facebook on Monday night saying in part: “There is no excuse for my choice in words but I would like to say that I’m truly sorry for my comments and those who were offended by it. You have my word that in the future, I will not make inappropriate comments like these. Please accept my humble apology.”
His name will still appear on the ballot. City officials said they can’t take it off because it’s within 24 days of the election.
Stewart said she’s disappointed that residents will still be able to vote for him.
“He may be an alderperson; we may have to work together,” Stewart said. “How would you ever anticipate to have a productive working relationship on behalf of the city by saying things like that?”
The New Britain Democratic Party has asked Lavoy to step out of the race. If he doesn’t, they plan to cut ties with him.
“Nobody gets a pass,” said Katie Breslin (D), New Britain City Council. “Regardless of [your] party, you make these comments, you make disparaging comments about women, you will be held accountable.”