Brantford mayor backtracks on ‘pussy’ tweets after tweet stirs controversy



Enlarge Image Sue Gikas

Mayor Fred Eisenberger may be in trouble after asking a woman online if her COVID-19 vaccination had changed her menstrual cycle.

Eisenberger, a 56-year-old who had just recently recovered from a cancer scare, tweeted Monday that the vaccine “turned me back into a pussy.” He later backed away from his remarks.

“I have never said a thing negative about vaccines or humans,” Eisenberger tweeted. “My tweet was posted in a moment of embarrassment after I had incorrectly assumed someone else was saying something. This was like my version of opening up the wrong window and looking in. Of course, I immediately deleted it. No offence was meant. I had only been responding to a positive tweet.”

A GoFundMe campaign to save Eisenberger’s pay has been started by officials in his hometown of Brantford, in southeastern Ontario. After a flurry of condemnation, Brantford City Manager Gord Langworthy called the exchange “highly inappropriate” and “alarmingly invasive.”

Brantford police warned Eisenberger about his tweets and city leaders in Brantford say they will “monitor his tweets carefully.”

Gikas recently discovered Eisenberger’s tweet when it was re-posted on Twitter by a Brantford local who called it “sexist” and asked “why?” The Daily Mail News tweeted the link to Gikas, who spotted the tweet and went to Eisenberger’s account to question him.

Dear Mayor Eisenberger, I just wanted to let you know I thought your comments about a woman’s healthcare was an abuse of power. #morgisthetop pic.twitter.com/tWmTMstW6I — Susan Gikas (@Susan_Gikas) November 11, 2018

The two struck up a text conversation after he attempted to apologize. She says he later said his tweet was intended to be funny, and she also found it offensive. “For the public to infer I was somehow responsible for my own bleeding, or that my menstrual cycle had anything to do with vaccinations, was simply absurd and insulting,” Gikas told CNET.

The councillor said she also hears from “quite a few young women” who are upset with Eisenberger’s comments. “This is not okay, this is absolutely disgusting,” Gikas said. “As the mayor of Brantford, this is completely beneath his level.”

Last week, Eisenberger tweeted a two-minute announcement about a lot of snow ahead. It became an instant hit after she shared it on Twitter and noted she had two degrees from the University of London. His tweet was well liked and he has been featured on a Reddit media page.

When asked if Eisenberger would be punished for his tweet, Langworthy told CNET that the mayor’s personal account is separate from his official and lobbying accounts.

“It will be reviewed as per normal policy,” Langworthy said, noting that Eisenberger has been in Brantford since 1989 and that he would recuse himself if he has to do so.

Eisenberger, in a statement, said he regrets his comments.

“Unfortunately, just as I’ve learned over the years, although I am healthy, I am not impervious to the quirks and frustrations of this job,” Eisenberger said. “I still have trouble sleeping or remembering things; but I know I am much better than I was seven years ago.”

Eisenberger also said he apologized to Gikas directly.

“For the record, I do not get the flu shot,” Eisenberger said. “However, I recently discovered that I also don’t get my COVID-19 vaccine. I didn’t know what to do when I found out about that.”

First published, 1:54 p.m. PT

Update, 6:31 p.m. PT: Adds Eisenberger’s comment.

“Dear Mayor Eisenberger, I just wanted to let you know I thought your comments about a woman’s healthcare was an abuse of power. #morgisthetop” -Susan Gikas https://t.co/8zoZcbjppg — Susan Gikas (@Susan_Gikas) November 11, 2018

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