Harrisburg, Pa – The “Twitter war” began on February 11 when Pa Lt. Governor John Fetterman tweeted a flashy photo of his wife wearing her traditional Brazilian Carnival attire to his public Twitter account.
A debate ensued concerning what is appropriate conduct for the Lt. Governor on social media, which lead to a greater debate defining the difference between personal twitter accounts vs. public official’s twitter accounts.
The controversy was further enflamed when Lt. Governor Fetterman blocked his twitter critics, then used national TV news outlets to defame one member of a Muslim family.
Fetterman accused Sean Guay of engaging in “Islamophobic dog whistling” in an interview with Pittsburgh Action News 4, attorney Marc Scaringi said.
The Lt. Governor made the accusation in response to a tweet posted by Guay showing a picture of Pa Governor Tom Wolf praying. Guay told ABC27 that he posted the image “to bring attention to the conflict of interest between church and state officials.”
In a PennLive article Fetterman was quoted as saying he thought the men were trying to “shame” his wife Gisele.
On behalf of Fetterman’s critics, attorney Marc Scaringi threatened the Lt. Governor with legal action regarding the public official making defamatory statements about his constituents, and violating their First Amendment rights by blocking them from participating in a public debate forum.
Fetterman was given one week to unblock his twitter critics.
“Neither Mr. Lindemuth nor Mr. Guay attacked the Lt. Governor’s spouse, his children or spread hateful speech or rhetoric,” said attorney Marc Scaringi of his clients.
“After a defiant Lt. Governor initially told media outlets that he would “absolutely” not unblock them, one day before the expiration of that deadline the Lt. Governor folded. He unblocked Mr. Jason Lindemuth and Mr. Sean Guay.”
“Mr. Lindemuth and Mr. Guay are very pleased that they are victorious in their challenge to the Lt. Governor. Mr. Lindemuth and Mr. Guay are true champions of the First Amendment.”
“The Lt. Governor should know that Mr. Guay is not racist or Islamophic,” Scaringi said. “He does not fear or hate Muslims; he married one. Mr. Guay’s wife, Yesmin Farzana, immigrated to the U.S. from Bangledesh, a Muslim majority country. Mrs. Guay is a proud Muslim-American of the Islamic faith. Like the Lt. Governor is proud of his wife’s culture and heritage, Mr. Guay is proud of his wife’s culture and heritage. Perhaps the Lt. Governor would like to meet her someday. She could teach the Lt. Governor much about the Muslim culture and the Islamic faith.”
Even though he unblocked them, Scaringi accused Fetterman of using media to disparage his clients’ character.
A defamation suit is not off the table, Scaringi said in his statement. He said his clients weren’t out to “shame” the Second Lady.
Guay replied to Fetterman’s response to Jamie Bittners tweet where she claimed that FOX43 first broke the story.
“Our families don’t deserve to have to defend themselves against these attacks from the Lt. Governor. Fetterman posted the beautiful picture of his wife to gain media attention, then went on a 10-day publicity tour defaming his twitter critics on TV news after blocking them on social media,” Guay tweeted.
ABC27 new reporter Alex Peterson took notice of the tweet activity and Bittner’s claim. He tweeted a response stating that she was 5 days late to the story that he first broke.
Peterson tweeted, “Sorry boo.”
After genuinely wishing a HAPPY SATURDAY in all caps, Peterson then inserted a series of happy face emojis.