An LGBTQ+ media outlet in Pennsylvania called out a candidate for elected office for past “anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and racist” tweets.
The outlet QBurgh, which covers the Pittsburgh area, reported on a string of objectionable posts made by Joanna Doven shortly after she announced that she would seek an at-large seat on the Allegheny County Council, challenging Democrat Bethany Hallam who currently holds that seat.
The tweets from 2015 surrounded the discovery that Rachel Dolezal, a white woman, had publicly pretended to be and described herself as Black.
In discussing the incident, Doven made a transphobic and racist remark, trying to draw a false comparison.
“So if a man can feel like he’s a woman and vice versa – why can’t a white person feel like they are black?” Doven tweeted in June 2015.
QBurgh reports that in addition to bigoted language, Doven’s social media from recent years included support for Republican candidates and GOP talking points. This is even with her saying that she wanted to secure Pittsburgh as solidly blue in her campaign announcement. The outlet notes that she even referred to hearing a Donald Trump interview “refreshing.”
The tweets, the outlet writes, were made after she had served as press secretary for Pittsburgh’s mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, a Democrat, and after launching her own business, a P.R. and marketing agency called Premo Consultants.
After the tweets came to light, Doven responded on Twitter with a long thread in which she accused the publication of participating in a “coordinated” attack.
The thread includes more than 20 tweets comprising several attacks against Hallam, including one surrounding her struggles with drug addiction.
“And during the times my voting record is being attacked, she was convicted for selling drugs, and I’m told had been arrested 14 times,” she wrote.
Hallam is open about her criminal history involving drug possession and opioid addiction.
“[My] opponent has missed several council meeting (even though there is only two a month) and is at the same time drunk tweeting from a bar, and doing egregious, sexual acts live on camera,” Doven also tweeted.
QBurgh put Doven on blast for the tweets and her lack of apology.
“14 tweets into the thread, Doven says her June 15, 2015 tweet ‘was wrong’. No apology was extended to the trans community, the greater LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh, or the Pittsburgh POC community,” QBurgh wrote in an update to its original report.
Other candidates may be running for the at-large county council position in the Democratic primary besides Hallam and Doven. Those looking to run must submit a nominating petition by March 7. The primary is on May 16.