Michaud intern crosses the line with crude, sexist remarks

On Tuesday, Ben Gagnon, an outspoken Michaud for Governor intern, posted on Twitter a collage of several of his past Tweets with the words “BREAKING NEWS: Sometimes I tweet things that some may find inappropriate.”

Ben Gagnon is second from left on the top.

Ben Gagnon is second from left on the top.

The tweets were appalling, especially for a 21-year-old looking to start a career in politics.  They ran the gamut from sexist slurs like the “B”-word and “C”-word to referring to the Bible as the “old book of Jewish fairy tales” to a comment sexualizing Jesus Christ.  They even laced in references to sex acts within the context of his work for the Michaud campaign.

Gagnon’s tweets are too explicit to repeat, but you can see them here, since he’s now deleted them. Michaud’s campaign manager suspended the intern after the news broke Tuesday for an unstated period of time.  Suspension?  Interns have been fired for far, far less.

On top of the slap on the wrist for joking about pedophilia, among other things, Michaud’s campaign manager, Matt McTighe, actually complained about the Maine Republican Party pointing out the intern’s profane rants.

If you represent the party that purports to respect women and tolerate others’ religious beliefs, then your primary focus in a situation like this should be to protect those ideals, not to criticize those who point out that they may be in jeopardy.

Moreover, this was no ordinary intern who popped in to the campaign office once a week.  As you can see, Ben Gagnon was featured prominently on the Michaud campaign’s website in a picture with Michaud and six of his top campaign staffers.  Michaud’s campaign Facebook page featured a picture of Gagnon with the congressman, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Vermont Governor (and Democratic Governors’ Association Chairman) Peter Shumlin. These photos have, of course, been conveniently removed.

Gagnon was also highlighted in the Maine Democratic Party’s convention video, quoted on their Twitter account, and is a blogger on the state’s most prominent Democratic blog, Dirigo Blue.

Given recent behavior from the left in Maine politics, perhaps this should come as no surprise. What’s surprising is that Mike Michaud is so brazen as to let this intern continue his association with the campaign. You can’t just erase online history, and this kind of behavior can’t just be swept under the rug with a halfhearted response. Mainers deserve real accountability from their leaders.

Jim Fossel

About Jim Fossel

Originally from Alna, Jim Fossel has volunteered with a number of campaigns over the years, including for Peter Mills for Governor in 2006. He previously worked for U.S. Senator Susan Collins and House Republican Leader Josh Tardy.