Nicole Merlene accuses Senator Favola of Sexism

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Last night, the Democratic debate for the 31st Senate district in Northern Virginia ended in fireworks. The sitting Senator Favola in a reach at the debate brought up a Merlene staff member’s tweets from 6 years ago. (That staff member was a teenager at the time.)

Blue Virginia has video of the debacle. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

What I mean by “all hell breaking loose” was Sen. Favola bringing up, for some reason I don’t fully understand, the fact that Merlene’s campaign manager (Matt Royer), when he was 18 or 19 years old, put out some tweets which – as Royer himself has fully acknowledged – were (in his words) “honestly ignorant and stupid and I regret them wholeheartedly.” Royer also said, in a statement:

“I don’t feel those represent me as a person. I have grown and learned since that time that words matter and that they can hurt people. I realize that it’s not funny and that it shouldn’t be taken lightly. But I also know that in my heart, that’s not who I am. I have worked for and with many people of color and LGBTQ and fought for them for equality so I would never want to harm anyone. I know better and I will continue to do better. and honestly, I’m very sorry.”

That’s not it, Merlene just sent out a press release filling you in on what she believes were sexist comments from Favola towards Merlin. Check it out below.

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Last night at the Arlington County Democratic Party debate for 31st state Senate district candidates, incumbent state Senator Barbara Favola used her closing remarks to level a wildly sexist and deeply offensive smear at her opponent. Referring to Nicole Merlene, a 26-year-old first time candidate for public office, Favola remarks: “I know there’s a new flavor that you can look at, maybe think about, maybe it’s tantalizing.” 

After sexually objectifying her opponent in front of a packed audience and thousands more online, Favola then claimed to champion the #MeToo movement. 

 

In response to being referred to as a “tantalizing” “new flavor that you can look at”, Nicole Merlene has issued the following statement: 

 

It’s a shame a sitting female lawmaker would take to using sexist dog-whistling comments. I, and women across the Commonwealth, are all too used to these types of comments. Moments such as this offer a stark reminder of how far our society must go in the way of treating women, especially young women, with the respect we deserve as powerful and intelligent individuals – not exploitable objects of sexual desire. We as women and as leaders should not have to put up with this any longer. Richmond culture needs a major change and I look forward to being that change. For now, I will continue to focus on the issues that got me into this race to begin with; ethics and campaign finance reform, transportation, infrastructure, affordable housing, and protecting our environment.”

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