A fake Twitter account meant to make fun of a Massachusetts politician ended the month of July by making light of the “It Gets Better” campaign to help prevent teen suicide has been linked to a spokesman for both Sen. Scott Brown and Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior campaign adviser to U.S. Senator Scott Brown, admitted unapologetically this week to the Boston Globe that he was behind the “CrazyKhazei” Twitter account meant to lampoon Alan Khazei, who hopes to face off against Sen. Scott Brown as the Democratic candidate from Massachusetts in 2012.
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“It’s horrifying that Scott Brown has chosen to look the other way after his senior adviser was caught making fun of a project whose sole aim is to prevent youth suicide,” Kevin Franck, communications director with the Massachusetts Democratic Party told the Blade. “Instead of telling LGBT youth across Massachusetts that it gets better, the junior senator has demonstrated that he is perfectly willing to tolerate the same kind of anti-gay bullying that has tormented so many young people.”
Fehrnstrom admitted setting up the fake Twitter account, telling Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe “It was my Twitter account.”
“Sometimes we take our politics too seriously and this was my way of lightening things up,” Fehrnstrom told the Globe. “As they say in politics, if you can’t stand the tweet, get out of the kitchen.”
Fehrnstrom, however, may have gone a bit too far when he posted a tweet at the expense of the popular, “It Gets Better” campaign to help communicate hope to LGBT youth most at risk to attempt suicide.
“I promise to devote all my time in office making gay videos. Shame on Scott Brown for focusing on jobs!” the July 31 tweet read.
The ‘joke’ came at a time when Scott Brown received criticism for not joining the rest of the Massachusetts delegation to the U.S. Congress in making an “It Gets Better” video encouraging troubled and bullied LGBT youth to seek help rather than end their lives in suicide. According to studies LGBT teens are up to four times more likely to do when compared to straight counterparts.
Scott Brown released a statement saying: “While it’s clear Eric was seeking to inject a little levity into politics on his own time, I wasn’t aware of what he was doing.”
“While Senator Scott Brown may think that this was ‘just injecting a little levity’ in the campaign, he should know that what he’s trying to pass off as juvenile behavior is actually very hurtful to LGBT people not only in his home state, but around the country,” Michael Mitchell, National Stonewall Democrats Executive Director, said in a statement released last week. “The fact that Fehrnstrom set up a fake account that appeared to be from a Democratic challenger is dirty politics, plain and simple.”
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The Twitter account has since been deleted, but staffers from the Democratic ‘Blue Mass Group’ captured the stream before it was deleted, and compiled all of the tweets into a single PDF file. The Washington Blade was able to grab a screen capture from that file which shows the Tweet.
Bay State Stonewall Democrats Co-chair Claire Naughton expressed outrage over the tweets. “Statements like that are indicative of a person’s value system. I cannot believe that Sen. Brown has not already fired Fehrnstrom from his campaign.”
Brown was the only member of the Massachusetts delegation to Congress to refuse to participate in making an “It Gets Better” video, which has seen the participation of the President, Secretary of State Clinton, many sports teams, celebrities and national political and entertainment figures.
At the time, his spokesman Colin Reed explained the Senator’s absence saying “His main focus right now is on creating jobs and getting our economy back on track.”
Despite several attempts, the Blade was unable to receive a response from the Scott Brown campaign.