A group of Carteret Borough religious and community leaders today called on Republican mayoral candidate Fred Gattuso to withdraw his candidacy amidst the revelation that he had posted dozens of racist, sexist and anti-semitic comments on various social media platforms. The posts references were discovered on Gasttuso’s Facebook (@YG12MTC) and Twitter (@YG12) accounts, which were both public until Sunday, when Gattuso made his Twitter account private. Screenshots of the posts are available in a report which was circulated this week.
Gattuso stated multiple times on video that he was vetted by the local Republican party before earning his party’s nomination and said “I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by anything I’ve ever done in my past.”
Carteret Republican Municipal Chairman Tony Gallo, who is running alongside Gattuso for Council, has repeatedly endorsed Gattuso and afforded him the party line on the Primary ballot. After Gallo was confronted by Carteret Revival Church Pastor Talisa Andrews about Gattuso’s racist Twitter posts, Gallo stated he “will look into the posts,” and Gattuso quickly made the account private.
“There is no place in Carteret or anywhere in today’s society for individuals who subscribe to a philosophy of hate,” said Pastor Andrews. “By his statements, Mr. Gattuso has disqualified himself from ever holding public office and he must withdraw his candidacy.”
Andrews was referring to more than two dozen posts by Gattuso on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where he repeatedly used the racially and religiously offensive language when describing people of African American, Hispanic, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish heritage.
In one post, Gattuso referred to former President Barack Obama as half a N****r and referred to himself as “half a racist.” In another Gattuso attacked former first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance saying she was either a “tranny or a shaved guerilla.”
Fr. Taras Chubenko, of St. Demetrius Ukrainian Orthodox Church, proclaimed “The most beautiful thing about Carteret is the community’s acceptance of all communities. It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves here today, but to remain silent would be unconscionable.”
In a written statement, Mayor Dan Reiman said, “My opponent and I disagree on much more than the fundamentals related to the leadership of Carteret. We strongly disagree on how people should be perceived and treated. Unfortunately, my opponent continues to express hate for other races, religions, and the degradation and objectification of women. His remarks are too disgusting for me to even repeat. Those who seek public office should set examples of tolerance and acceptance. Clearly, my opponent’s beliefs run counter to everything that we celebrate here – the melting pot which is Carteret.”
“Fred Gattuso should be ashamed of himself,” said Rabbi Azrial Brown. “I’d like to think that he just failed to adapt to the times, but his comments are so heinous, it is clear that he is filled with hate and vitriol, and sees nothing wrong with spewing his offensive comments and anger in public forums.”
Pastor Carlos Torres said, “At a time when we are touting the importance of respect for all, Fred Gattuso insists on making a mockery of us. It is unfathomable that someone who insists on degrading minorities thinks that he can run to represent our community, which is one the most diverse communities in the State of New Jersey. Frankly, his comments are just plain racist.”
According to an NJ.com report, Carteret is the 4th most diverse town in New Jersey, with a population that is 34% white, 13% black, 22% Asian, and 29% Hispanic.