Metro, News

Gubernatorial candidate’s spokesperson resigns over offensive tweets

Republican candidate’s former spokesperson sent misogynistic, racist tweets while in college

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, November 2, 2018

Andrew Augustus resigned as a spokesperson for Mayor of Cranston Allan Fung’s gubernatorial campaign after misogynistic and racist tweets from his time at Rhode Island College were discovered this week.

“Upon hire, an inspection of (Augustus’s) social media account was conducted, but obviously not six or seven years back,” wrote Fung Campaign Manager Andrew Vargas Vila in an email to The Herald. “While Andrew is a different person now, and is extremely embarrassed by this, he does not want to reflect poorly on the Mayor or distract from any part of this campaign.”

One tweet from Jan. 2, 2012, read, “Lucky to be where I am in life, I have the balls to say what others are thinking(.) I am going to get a tattoo on my chest saying No Fat Chicks.”

Another tweet posted 11 days later read, “Black people + ice skates = hilarity.”

Other tweets included language of a sexual nature, making fun of women, black people and politicians.

The Huffington Post originally reported on the tweets and Augustus’ resignation Tuesday after they were discovered by digital strategist and Cranston native Lindsay Crudele. Screenshots of the deleted tweets were posted by Crudele to Twitter and are included in the Huffington Post article.

“What does South Carolina have in common with #NewtGingrich? They both like being full of whores,” he wrote that same January 2012.

The tweets were written during Augustus’ time at RIC from 2008 to 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before working on Fung’s campaign, Augustus was a press associate at Providence City Hall under Mayor Jorge Elorza. 

Crudele found the tweets after seeing that one of her followers criticized Augustus for a misogynistic tweet. When she tried to see the mentioned tweet, she discovered that it was already deleted and resorted to a Boolean search to find it.

She found the original tweet and others like it. “It’s just how he tweeted, all the time, for a couple of years spread. Not a fluke, but a trend,” Crudele wrote in an email to The Herald.

Crudele has been keeping up with the race because her parents still live in Cranston, she wrote. Crudele’s mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, called Augustus and asked about Fung’s position on health care to provide information to an MS support group but never received an answer. Still needing an answer, Crudele tweeted at Fung asking about his position on healthcare and was then blocked by him.

“You can imagine how it feels for me to realize that I have been posing serious policy questions to a team whose spokesperson publicly joked about ‘No Fat Chicks,’ and made other dehumanizing remarks,” Crudele wrote.

Joseph Trillo, independent candidate for governor, took to Twitter to criticize Fung for Augustus’ hire. “Allan tried to sweep this under the rug. THIS is the type of people working on his campaign,” Trillo posted to Twitter with a link to the Huffington Post article.

“BAD leaders hire BAD staff,” he wrote in another tweet Tuesday night.

By press time, The Herald was unable to confirm Augustus’ replacement.