Content Note: racism, misogyny, misogynoir, ableism, sexism, homophobia, pro-Trump content, xenophobia, sexualizing young girls, Democrats, politicians
Recently, several local media outlets have disclosed social media content posted, mainly on Facebook, by a ward chair of the Allegheny County Democrat Committee, Jeff ‘Bean’ Anesin. While a few of the posts suggest that Anesin is a Trump supporter and in violation of the ACDC rules to uphold the Democratic Party, the larger picture is even more grim. This is not one or two people gone wild. This is a systemic reflection of Democratic leadership in the region, the same leadership that has sent generations of white cis het Christian men to the ballots, created political dynasties, and put personal privilege ahead of party.
When asked about the Trump support within the committee this afternoon during a press conference at the ACDC headquarters in the West End, Democratic Committee chair Eileen Kelly denied that there were any Trump supporters active in the committee.
“No, there are not,” said Kelly. “There are no Trump supporters in the committee.”
When asked about Jeffrey Anesin, the 24th ward chair who was wearing the Trump hat in the Facebook post mentioned above, Kelly defended him and said, “Well, you have to know this gentleman. He was doing it out of fun.”
There is an increasing amount of pressure on ACDC chair Eileen Kelly to resign in the wake of a disastrous press conference she co-organized with Pittsburgh City Councilor Anthony Coghill. Facebook Live video reveals both Kelly and Coghill downplaying the Anesin social media content as a ‘joke’ even when repeatedly pressed by City Paper’s Ryan Deto and WESA’s Chris Potter.
Since then, Austin Davis has resigned as co-chair and Kelly has pledged to create a bylaws review committee. Meanwhile, Ryan Deto has uncovered other committee members sharing similar content.
Kelly and the entire leadership committee of the ACDC are either lying to us or collectively unaware of how social media works. Whichever of these people they want to be, they are not qualified to lead the party and the institutional fail safes that should be in place to protect Democratic values are flawed and unworkable. If they cannot admit that reality, then it is up to us to make sure they get it. My preteen niblings and 70+ something relatives could do a better job contrasting social media satire/irony/jokes with blatant MAGA nonsense than Kelly & Co.
It is my opinion that the quantity of content shared by a ward chair as well as the actual content itself reflects not only that individual’s anti-Democratic Party values, but also highlights that the existing leadership structure is powerless to enforce their own bylaws. You’d think not supporting MAGA/Trump would be low-hanging fruit in this case, but apparently not. “Don’t support Trump” should be a clear boundary for members of any Democratic committee.
The ACDC is broken and needs a complete institutional overhaul – stat – to be effective in the 2020 elections. There is no time to wait. I support the call of Allegheny County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam to convene a meeting of the entire committee to immediately begin this conversation.
Furthermore, the existing leadership committee must resign in its entirety. Eileen Kelly has failed Democrats, but so have the other leaders . The very last thing we need right now is more of the party infighting over which faction of loyalists will wrest power – the Wagners, the Fitz folks, the Peduto people – all of them have to let go of their personal political agendas and do what is best for all of us. And it is our shared responsibility as Democrats to make that happen. We can’t count on people protecting Trump supporters within the ranks of our party to do the necessary thing here. They had their chance.
Step back, people, and let the folks who are getting the work done have an opportunity to make their case. No one is saying we should kick all the existing committee folks out, but we need a vibrant committee of people who will respond to email and at least look at Facebook and Twitter and, most importantly, listen. Committee members should be vibrant, visible neighbors – not specters and ghosts of Democratic primaries past.
So I have decided to share these social media screenshots from Jeff Anesin’s Facebook profile in spite of their heinous content because it is imperative that the public understand the magnitude of his actions and the resulting magniture of the inaction by the entire ACDC leadership.
I put the images at the bottom of this page because they are traumatizing and not individually the point we need to hit home in the conversation on this topic. These posts are absolutely pro-Trump and pro-MAGA. They violate the rules of the ACDC and should be immediately and directly addressed. The narrative here is that Anesin is a Trump/MAGA supporter and he is being protected by other ACDC members who must find him politically useful.
There are 40 images. 40. Not a few, not a joke, not ironic. 40 hate-filled posts made by one person. Take a look at who liked the posts, who commented, who engaged – all of these people are aware this has been happening.
Jeff Anesin must be removed from the ACDC immediately. His vile, racist, sexist, disgusting social media support of President Trump is hurting out neighbors. The man lives minutes from one of the largest Somali communities in the region, yet makes specific jokes about Somalians. He is surrounded by elementary school, but sexualizes fifth grade girls. He is surrounded by women, but we are also fodder for his imagination gone gross. Perhaps most repulsive and vile are his posts targeting Black women – totally unacceptable for any Northsider or Democrat.
You can see the images for yourself. I debated long and hard about sharing them because of the potential to harm to readers and the community. However, I think this is evidence to demonstrate Anesin’s true political animus as well as prove that Eileen Kelly is being disingenuous at best.
Here is my own Call-to-Action
- Contact that ACDC and tell them what you think about the chair of the Pittsburgh 24th Democratic Ward supporting Trump and his most vile messaging. Is it funny? (412) 481-5646 [email protected] @AlleghenyDems facebook.com/AlleghenyDems/
- Contact YOUR committee folks and ask them what they think about this and what they are going to do about it.
- While you are at it, visit the social media pages of the committee members and see what values they share in their content. Are they in line with yours? With our party? Are you proud they represent your neighbors? Do you think they can help us win elections this year?
- Representative Adam Ravenstahl is politically allied to Anesin. So call him and ask him about this, too. Is this the sort of ‘humor” Adam would want made about his wife, his daughter, his family? Fifth grade girls in his district? His constituents? (412) 321-5523 Website [email protected]
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- Invest in the campaigns that do represent your values regardless of what the ACDC thinks you should do.
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