Everett City Councilor under fire for racist Facebook post

EVERETT, Mass. - Everett City Councilor Stephen Simonelli is under fire for making racist remarks the Haitian community said were aimed at them.

On Wednesday night, someone posted in an Everett community Facebook forum saying:

"You know when your back in Everett when...a nasty Haitian woman cuts you off don't use her directional light and you pull over to tell her what she did wrong, and she yells at you and tells you to shut up.”

Councilor Simonelli responded to the post, where he said:

"“Hallelujah, we say learn how to drive the rules of the road learn language, stop complaining should be grateful for just being here we know you nothing but you want everything.”

Haitian residents are furious as they say the comment is degrading and disrespectful.

"It is insulting," said Romel Jean Baptiste. "He's talking about us, he has to stop that (expletive)."

Baptiste runs two businesses in Everett, and he believes Simonelli's comments make it clear who he was referring to.

The post has since received over 200 replies.

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria reached out to Boston 25 News Monday morning to condemn the comments.

"This past weekend I was disgusted and saddened to read prejudiced and hurtful comments on a social media platform made by certain individuals within our City," he said in a statement. "I condemn these statements in the strongest of terms.

"The city of Everett is truly a diverse community, and has been for generations. We are one of the fastest growing immigrant cities in Massachusetts and are proud of that.

"Many new Americans call the city home. That is our strength. By embracing and assisting all Americans, we flourish together. We simply cannot turn our backs and remain silent when we hear hurtful comments."

City councilor Rosa DiFlorio, who wasn't involved in the conversation, does not believe it's clear who Simonelli was talking about in his comment.

"I actually don't see in the post that he names Haitians," said DiFlorio. "Should he have made the post? Probably not, [but] I don't believe it's as bad as people are making it."

When Boston 25 News reached out to Simonelli for a comment, he replied with a text message saying:

"No comment, read FB no quotes, out of control - leave me alone please."

DiFlorio believes the groundswell of upset Haitians has been stoked by the candidate who lost to Simonelli in the last election, Stephanie Martins.

A city council meeting is scheduled for Monday night, where Martins said she will be part of a silent protest planned against Simonelli at the meeting.

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