LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - Lowell Mayor John Leahy called for a school committee member’s resignation after the member used a racial slur on TV Wednesday.
During an appearance on a Lowell TeleMedia Center opinion show called “City Life,” Committee Member Robert Hoey allegedly used anti-Semitic language to describe a former employee of the Lowell Public Schools.
Minutes later, he appeared to try to walk back the statement.
“I said a bad name … I’m an Archie Bunker,” he says. Though offers no apology. “So I do say some crazy stuff. I love when they say, Black Lives Matter. I like to say what about Puerto Ricans … how about white guys … do we matter?” He posits.
Leahy wrote in a statement that he is calling for a special joint meeting of the Lowell School Committee and the Lowell City Council to present a motion in support of demanding Hoey’s resignation.
“Throughout the academic year, this school committee has focused on issues of equity and racial equality in our schools and in our community,” he wrote. “To fully represent the interest and diversity of our students and our community, we must not only join together in rejecting this language but continue working towards that more perfect Union.”
City Manager Eileen Donoghue commended Leahy for acting swiftly to convene a joint meeting, adding that she believes calling for Hoey’s resignation is “warranted considering the magnitude of his offense.”
“Mr. Hoey’s remarks are a stark and disheartening reminder that intolerant viewpoints do still exist within our community, but I believe strongly that they are not defining of Lowell’s character,” she said. “I am grateful to the countless residents and leaders who have spoken out to soundly reject his comments since they surfaced. It is my hope that this collective, community-wide response can serve as an affirmation that, despite our ongoing struggles, Lowell is a place that is genuinely committed to tolerance and inclusivity.”
LTC also released a statement that read, “LTC strongly and unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech; anti-semitic, homophobic, misogynistic and racist views and opinions. We are appalled to hear the comment made by Mr. Hoey. The comment expressed is not representative of LTC’s values and beliefs.”
LTC has since pulled the episode from any future re-broadcasting.
“LTC is an inclusive environment, we promote diversity and acceptance of all people, orientations, and beliefs. We are committed to protecting targeted groups in our city and valuing our entire diverse community,” their statement continued. “We would like to specifically acknowledge the attack on our Jewish neighbors in this incident and pledge to stand in solidarity with you during this challenging time.”
The Superintendent of Lowell Public Schools said he has spoken to Hoey and expects him to take part in anti-racism and anti-bias training.
“Bob should be able to learn from this. He can be forgiven, he just needs to do the right thing and accept responsibility for what happened,” Leahy said.
Hoey did not respond to 7NEWS’s attempts to get a comment.
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