A University of Connecticut employee sent a profanity-laced response to a routine campaign email from 33rd Senate District Republican nominee Melissa Ziobron.
In her email Wednesday, UConn instructional designer Betsy Guala wrote that Ziobron’s party “ruined” Connecticut and the United States.
“F**k off you Republican c**t! Your party ruined Connecticut and your party is ruining this country under that corrupt, lying, idiot Trump. Don’t f*****g email me again!!!,” the email read.
Ziobron, who currently represents East Hampton, East Haddam and parts of Colchester in Connecticut’s House of Representatives, said she was in a “state of shock” when she received Guala’s email.
“It came on the same day that I watched a video of a volunteer for Bob Stefanowski’s campaign who I’ve met being pushed around by a crowd at the debate center, and she was almost pushed to the ground,” Ziobron said. “So when I got that email, it was just very very upsetting. Somehow women with a conservative voice, whether it’s fiscally or otherwise, I feel like we’re treated differently and it’s very frustrating.”
The email first surfaced online when blogger Kevin Rennie posted a screenshot of it on his blog, Daily Ructions. Ziobron said she doesn’t know Rennie and doesn’t know how he got ahold of the email.
“I forwarded that email to a few friends of mine because we had all seen the Bob Stefanowski video, so I thought ‘here we go, here’s another example of outrageous behavior from (people with) different viewpoints,” Ziobron said. “I can only assume that when I forwarded it to people, someone must have forwarded it to Kevin Rennie.”
Ziobron said that when the email first surfaced on Rennie’s blog, her campaign decided to respond to it online.
“At that point we had to make a decision whether to post about it on our campaign website,”
Ziobron said. “I felt that if I didn’t say something, having it hanging out there without comment from me would be bad.”
After Ziobron’s campaign posted a response to the email, Guala reached out to Ziboron and asked her to take it down.
“The author of the email reached out to me about six hours after I posted it on my website and asked that it be removed without offering an apology for what she said,” Ziobron said. “She apologized for her use of vulgar words but didn’t apologize for the sentiment. I understand how sometimes things can happen in the public view and I certainly didn’t ask for her to be reprimanded or something like that, but I didn’t get a sincere apology.”
Ziobron did delete her campaign’s response to the email, tweeting “I have removed the post regarding the nasty email at the author’s request. I hope to see a renewed commitment to civil discourse!”
Ziobron said part of the reason why she decided to respond publicly to the email was because she hopes people who have been in similar situations know they aren’t alone.
“It wasn’t something I planned on doing, putting it out there in a public way,” Ziobron said. “I wanted some folks to see it who have been on the receiving end of that abuse, and I wanted them to know that they’re not alone and I’ve gotten this as well.”
Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.