Pennsylvania Democrat anonymously trolled constituents online for supporting drilling
posted at 9:21 pm on June 3, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
The kicker? He’s a supporter of a state cyberbullying bill.
A state lawmaker on Thursday acknowledged making “anonymous” and “fictitious” online posts attacking constituents who support shale-gas drilling in Washington County and apologized to two people for any “offensive or hurtful” actions.
Residents and the industry group Energy In Depth accused Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, of using aliases to call his critics “mouth breathers” and to call industry supporters, including senior citizens, “hucksters.”
White explained himself by blaming drilling companies and pro-industry groups for targeting him with “misleading and personal attacks.”
“These attacks have included anonymous or fictitious posts on various websites,” White, 34, said in an emailed statement. “On occasion, I have exercised my First Amendment rights and responded in kind, which was an error in judgment that I regret.
“To be clear, I did not use government resources while posting comments on these sites.”
So, there’s that. But he probably went after some really dastardly folks, right?
“It’s just crazy,” said Janice Gibbs, 64, of Cecil, a retired waitress who cares for her ill husband and 2-year-old granddaughter. “It was a shock that he would go to this, (that) a public official who’s an educated man would go to this depth of harassing people when he doesn’t have to.
“He can debate and have his opinion. And he doesn’t have to bash his constituents.”
Constituents, who were called industry “moles” and worse by White’s pseudonyms for months and years, have now been invited to meet with White face-to-face. Because that’ll make everything better:
“I apologize to Janice Gibbs and Donald Roessler for any action I’ve taken that may have been offensive or hurtful and I will be extending a private invitation to meet with them to discuss our viewpoints face-to-face, in an effort to find common ground and foster a more professional and respectful level of communication,” White’s statement said.
It would be hard to imagine an Allegheny County legislator remaining in office after committing such dastardly and immature acts involving constituents.
State Rep. Jesse White has apologized for anonymously attacking constituents who support Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and calling a woman an “industry troll.”
White apologized last week for online attacks that included saying the woman was “dumber than a box of rocks.”
“The part that hurts the most is this is my state representative. This is not just me talking to a neighbor,” the woman responded.