The Ethics Committee of the Delaware House of Representatives has unanimously voted to dismiss a complaint filed against Rep. Gerald Brady (D-Wilmington) for his use of an anti-Asian slur, saying he did not violate any law.
What he said: Brady, 65, used the derogatory term “ch*nk” in a June 27 email he had accidentally sent to a person advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution in Delaware. He reportedly intended to send it to a friend.
- The advocate sent Brady a Princeton University study, which linked the presence of strip clubs to a drop in sex crimes in a New York City precinct, according to AP News. The study did not mention Asian women engaging in sex work or having anything to do with strip clubs, but Brady’s response appeared to assume otherwise — and worse.
- “Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free Bl*wj*bs for Uncle Pervie, there will be few rapes and few ch*nk broads will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington?” Brady wrote, using his official government email address. The original recipient was reportedly supposed to summarize the study.
- “I cannot in good conscience ask the voters to put their faith in me again after I betrayed theirs,” Brady said in a statement. “I can only humbly and unequivocally apologize again for my actions, for which I am solely responsible.”
- Brady also promised that he will “work to make amends with the Asian American community.” As required by House leadership, he also underwent sensitivity training, though details about it have not been made public.
‘No violation’: On Monday, the five-member Ethics Committee informed the rest of the House that it will not take further action in an ethics complaint filed against Brady. While they found his words “reprehensible,” they said the case “does not rise to the level of a violation of the Rules of Legislative Conduct.”
- “The Ethics Committee unanimously determined that no laws were violated, and that Rep. Brady’s remarks are protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees the right of free speech,” Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst said, according to the Delaware News Journal. Other committee members include House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, Majority Whip John Mitchell, Minority Whip Tim Dukes and Rep. Daniel Short.
- The committee stressed that there was no precedent for “policing the lawful expression of opinions or a member’s choice of words” in what was believed to be a private correspondence. Citing an opinion from former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in the 1989 Texas vs. Johnson case, they also said they could not punish “the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”
- For his part, Brady said he has spent the past several weeks “contacting colleagues, constituents, community members and members of the Asian American community to offer my apologies and to open a dialogue with them.” He also claimed that he has kept in touch with the instructor of his sensitivity training “to incorporate the lessons I have learned going forward,” Newsweek noted.
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