McKenna Campaign Staffer Under Fire For Tweet: "Shut Up and Speak English"

A member of gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna's campaign staff came under fire after The Stranger discovered that she posted derogatory remarks about Asians and old people on her personal Twitter account.

Update, 2:40 p.m. July 18: Gennette Cordova, a Patch contributor who was caught up in a Twitter controversy last year involving New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, : http://patch.com/A-wkGM

Update, July 18: Kathlyn Ehl resigned Wednesday morning. The story is here: http://patch.com/A-wksD

Original story:

Gubernatorial candidate and Bellevue resident Rob McKenna issued a statement that one of his staffers apologized after The Stranger's blog "The Slog" uncovered posts on Twitter that were derogatory toward Asians and the elderly.

According to The Stranger, staffer Kathlyn Ehl posted in January: "shut up and speak english #asians" and in November: "If it takes you an entire green light to walk in front of my car GET A WHEELCHAIR #toooldtowalk" (punctuation in the original).

While Ehl, a recent graduate of the University of Washington according to her LinkedIn account, has since deleted the two tweets, as well as others from her Twitter account, The Stranger posted the history of her tweets as of Friday before her timeline was edited.

Ehl was hired by McKenna's campaign in April, and according to political blog Publicola, McKenna's campaign Twitter feed encouraged followers to follow her (the post has since been deleted). 

McKenna, the state attorney general and leading Republican in the race for governor, issued this statement through his campaign:

“The tweets sent by a member of my campaign staff, Kathlyn Ehl, which were reported today were offensive and inappropriate.  I am glad to see that she has apologized for her actions.

The fact that she made the comments before joining my campaign does not make them any less hurtful to Asian Americans and the elderly. They were insensitive and wrong regardless of their context.

She has done the right thing by apologizing.  I am hopeful that she has learned a humbling lesson that will give her greater perspective about having charity in her heart when considering the challenges faced by others.”


What do you think? Youthful indescretion or a campaign faux pas? 

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Venice Buhain July 18, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Just posted an update: Kathlyn Ehl resigned Wednesday morning. The story is here: http://patch.com/A-wksD
Bill Graham July 18, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Do not speak for me. We are a nation of immigrants. I speak and write several languages and, though American English is an important common language, your haughty attitude is disproportionate. Also, in interrogative sentences such as yours it is correct to terminate the sentence with a question mark rather than with a period.
Bill Graham July 18, 2012 at 07:23 PM
"What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature." -- Voltaire Or, pardonnons-nous réciproquement nos sottises.
jimmy July 19, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Kathlyn Ehl, "you shut up and speak Asian". So how do feel now?
John Law September 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Jason: Wake up. More than one language is spoken in the USA. Four languages are spoken in my household.


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