Elizabeth Warren’s campaign manager has apologized to a campaign aide to Senator Scott Brown after the staff member may have been subjected to antigay rhetoric by Warren supporters earlier this week.
It is unclear precisely what transpired, but the Warren campaign has acknowledged that some of its supporters made inappropriate comments to Ross Hemminger, Brown’s youth coordinator, outside Springfield Symphony Hall, where supporters of both candidates were chanting and waving signs before the Senate debate on Wednesday.
“It has come to my attention that some of our supporters made very inappropriate comments to you outside the Springfield debate hall tonight,” Warren’s campaign manager, Mindy Myers, wrote in an e-mail to Hemminger soon after the incident on Wednesday night. “On behalf of Elizabeth and our campaign, I am writing to express our deepest apologies. Elizabeth completely denounces this kind of behavior, and we are very sorry it occurred.”
The e-mail was first reported on the blog of Lisa De Pasquale , interim chairwoman of the board of GOProud, a gay conservative group that endorsed Brown today. De Pasquale reported that: “The incident happened when Hemminger started chanting ‘Go, Scott, go!’ on the megaphone. The Warren supporters chanted back ‘You sound gay!’” and made lewd remarks.
Two videos posted to YouTube also show what appear to be Warren supporters in union garb outside the event. In one video, one man makes a crude antigay remark. In the other video, a man says a Brown supporter “sounds kind of gay.”
Aides to Brown, a Republican, and Warren, a Democrat, declined to discuss what happened in the incident, but the Warren campaign said the people involved were supporters, not staff members.
A Brown spokeswoman issued the following statement: “The behavior displayed was appalling and we are glad the Warren campaign has apologized for it. Ross is a valued member of our team and we are disappointed that he was targeted with this hateful words.”
Late last month, Brown’s campaign was embroiled in controversy after the release of a video showing Republican staff members, including a lawyer in Brown’s Senate office, performing tomahawk chops and war whoops outside one of his campaign events. At the time, Brown said such behavior is “not something I condone,” but declined to apologize.
“The apologies that need to be made and the offensiveness here is the fact that professor Warren took advantage of a claim, to be somebody, a Native American, and used that for an advantage, a tactical advantage,” Brown said after the video was released.Michael Levenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.