EVERETT, Mass. (WHDH) — An Everett city councilor has apologized after a controversial post he made about Haitians on Facebook.
Stephen Simonelli, 64, is under fire for the message that he posted in a closed group on Facebook.
Wednesday night, someone wrote in a closed Everett community page on Facebook about a “nasty Haitian woman” who they said cut them off in traffic.
Simonelli responded with:
“Hallelujah we say learn how to drive the rules of the road learn language stop complaining should be grateful for just beung here we Know you nothing but you want every thing.”
Simonelli apparently meant to say “we owe you nothing.” He also misspelt “being.”
“The councilor’s comments were disappointing. That’s not what we’re about in the city of Everett,” said Mayor Carlo Demaria said.
Several residents spoke at a city council meeting Monday night.
“I’m very disturbed about things that I’ve heard that has been going on in this community, I’m disgusted by it,” said Jean McAdam.
Simonelli cannot speak after losing his tongue to cancer a few years ago. He apologized through an interpreter at Monday’s meeting and also wrote an apology earlier in the day:
“I was expressing an opinion on a Facebook post; something I now regret. However, I never said nor would I ever say anything racist, bigoted or hateful.”
Many are calling for Simonelli to resign in wake of the comments. Community organizers who advocate for positive change for immigrants are not pleased with the apology.
“He has to resign. We don’t trust him anymore, we don’t feel like he’s serving our need,” said Pastor Guival Mercedat of the Haitian Church of God and Unity.
City Council President Peter Napolitano said they are investigating but may not be able to take any legal action against Simonelli.
(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)