NH Spillaine lawmaker reprimanded for anti-Semitic publication


The New Hampshire Legislative Ethics Committee berated a member of the Republican House for sharing an anti-Semitic cartoon on social media.

Republican State Representative James Spillane, who represents Deerfield, apologized in writing for sharing the image on the conservative social media platform, Speak.

“I sincerely apologize for echoing a meme with an image that has proven to be deeply offensive,” Spillane wrote to the committee in a letter reprinted in the House Calendar on Friday.

“I am embarrassed that my failure to determine the hateful source of this image has resulted in offending and hurting so many others, especially those of the Jewish faith,” Spillane said.

The drawing in question was a partial copy of a controversial street mural painted in London in 2012. The mural was removed following a public complaint.

According to the ethics committee report, “The mural depicts several men around what looks like a Monopoly game board that rests on the bare backs of other people who appear submissive.

The image of the mural published by Spillane was captioned “IF WE ALL GET UP, THEIR LITTLE GAME IS OVER”. Spillane added a comment to the post, “Okay. Truth.”

Seven lawmakers from Democratic states, all of them Jewish, complained to the committee about Spillane’s publication in January, which was brought to their attention by a third party, as “personally offensive because it seemed similar to anti-Semitic propaganda.”

In the statement published in the Legislative Calendar, Ethics Committee Chairman Ned Gordon, a Republican from Bristol, wrote that Spillane’s publication of the image was “against the principles of the civil service which were adopted by the legislature “and that Spillane’s conduct” violated the legislature’s policy against sexual and other illegal harassment and discrimination.

Gordon said the committee, which is charged with reviewing complaints against lawmakers, had grounds to lay formal charges, but that any outcome “would then become subject to the political process and its imposition would be at the discretion of the legislative body as a whole. “

A formal warning from the committee, Gordon said, would ensure that an “appropriate letter of apology” would be on the House’s calendar and “could provide an opportunity to educate members of the General Court and prevent incidents similar to this. the future”.

Democratic House Leader Renny Cushing of Hampton, who last year called for Spillane’s resignation, took to Twitter to endorse the committee’s action.

“Send a clear message to all members that when you post anything on social media that is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic or otherwise discriminatory that such actions violate the principles of public service for all lawmakers.” Cushing wrote.

This incident is not the first time Spillane, who is running his fifth term in the House, has come under scrutiny for offensive social media posts. Last year, Spillane was investigated by the New Hampshire Attorney General for a threatening Facebook post about Black Lives Matter.

Spillane said the post was intended as a joke.

In 2019, Spillane posted a bloody image of a squirrel he said he shot on Twitter. He was responding to a message posted by an animal rights activist.

New Hampshire Fish and Game investigated Spillane for killing the squirrel out of season. Then-Speaker Steve Shurtleff stripped Spillane of his seat on the Fish and Game Committee.

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