Everett city councilor under fire after controversial comments about Haitians

EVERETT, MASS. (WHDH) - Recent controversial comments made on social media by an Everett city councilor has sparked outrage, with some calling the official’s post racist and hurtful.

Longtime city councilor — 64-year-old Stephen Simonelli — is under fire for a message that he posted in a closed group on Facebook.

Wednesday night, someone wrote in an Everett Community Facebook forum: “You know when your back in Everett when…a nasty Haitian woman cuts you off don’t use her directional light and you pull over to tell her what she did wrong, and she yells at you and tells you to shut up.”

Simonelli responded by posting:

“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 “beung.”

“I think it’s very clear from his comments on where he stands,” one city resident told 7News.

Everett’s mayor stopped short of calling on Simonelli to resign, but he says with a city council meeting coming Monday night, he hopes Simonelli will take steps to make amends.

“The councilor’s comments were disappointing. That’s not what we’re about in the city of Everett,” said Mayor Carlo Demaria said. “I am calling on him to make a grand apology.”

Officials say Simonelli can’t speak due to tongue cancer but 7News texted him for his side of the story.

Simonelli wrote an apology for anyone who might have taken offense and added:

“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.”

The Haitian community is Everett is outraged by the comments.

“That’s disrespectful to our community,” Rev. Guival Mercedat said. “It was a racist comment.”

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.

“We ask him to resign from the city council,” said Antonio Iraheta, Director of La Comunidad.

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