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Matthews Commissioners Push Back Against ‘Disgusting And Hate-Filled’ Comments

Source: WFAE-FM

A Matthews Board of Commissioners meeting ended after anti-Semitic, homophobic, and racially charged comments erupted over Zoom.

Earlier this month, a handful of individuals connected to the board’s Zoom meeting to share public comments. However, the individuals took turns sharing hate speech targeted toward the LGBTQ+ community, the Jewish community and their faith – with one individual espousing Holocaust denial rhetoric. 

According to the Charlotte Observer, Commissioner Ken McCool stated what most likely occurred was something called “Zoom bombing,” a trend in which people join virtual public meetings to disrupt them with inappropriate videos, vulgar language, and crude behavior.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the disturbing incident led some attendees to leave the meeting early while some commissioners argued whether to turn down the volume on one of the individuals.

“Some of these comments tonight have been sickening and disgusting, infuriating,” McCool stated in a video. “This does not represent what the Town of Matthews is and believes, and I’m so sorry anyone had to hear that.”

Just days after the incident, board members voted unanimously to require public comment speakers to appear in person.

“Exposing Matthews staff members, our residents, and most importantly our children to such salacious, disgusting, and hate-filled rhetoric is, in my view, unacceptable,” stated Mayor John Higdon during the March 5 special meeting. “And for us as town leaders to do nothing to try to curb such attacks in the future is a dereliction of our duty.”

According to Queen City News, the Matthews board has stressed that those unable to attend an in-person meeting can email the commissioners any time with concerns or comments. Someone else can also speak in your place.

“I regret the extremely unfortunate incident that interrupted the meeting last evening and I extend my apologies to anyone who was subjected to it including Town staff and meeting attendees,” Higdon stated. “While I support the protection of free speech under the First Amendment, I also condemn the hateful and offensive words used. They are completely at odds with the welcoming, inclusive community we wish to have in Matthews.”


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