Calls are mounting on social media for longtime state representative Gerald Brady to resign amid racist and sexist remarks he made in an email.
Delaware House leadership is stopping short of calling for Gerald Brady to step down. They sent Brady a letter, dated July 20:
"We were shocked and disappointed to learn this week of your June 27 email to a private citizen wherein you used an anti-Asian slur and attempted to make a crass joke about human trafficking. This cannot be excused and will not be tolerated by this caucus. We fully and unequivocally condemn those words and apologize to everyone for such a deeply offensive message," wrote House Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf, Majority Leader Val Longhurst, and House Majority Whip Larry Mitchell. "While your apology was sincere and contrite, words alone are not enough to properly address this situation."
Read the full letter from House leadership:
Instead, leadership ordered Brady to undergo sensitivity training and to reach out to local Asian American organizations.
It's a reaction the Delaware Republican Party has called "weak" and "fails to support women."
"In a letter I recently saw from the leadership in the House Democratic caucus, they stated 'words alone are not enough to properly address this situation.' And yet words are all that the Democrats have offered. Admonishing him is insufficient. The Republican Party of Delaware calls for the Democrat Leadership to conduct an ethics investigation and demand his resignation," said Delaware GOP Party Chair Jane Brady.
Delaware Young Republicans are also calling for Brady to resign immediately.
"If he does not, actions must be taken to remove him from office. There is no place in our House of Representatives for those who use derogatory slurs about people of Asian descent. There is no place in our General Assembly for men who demean and objectify women. The Democrat Party leadership's response has been to send him off to 'sensitivity training.' This is a poor joke and a slap in the face to decency. We expect more out of our elected officials," the organization said in an email.
Brady's offensive comments came in an email dated June 27, 2021, that he inadvertently sent to an advocate for decriminalizing prostitution as the two discussed human trafficking. The advocate then sent the email to The News Journal.
“Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free (sex acts) for Uncle Pervie there will be few rapes and few (a slur for Chinese women) will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington??” Brady replied from his official government email address.
The study sent to Brady did not directly mention Asian women in relation to sex work and strip clubs.
"Words matter, and I think Representative Brady learned that in a big, terrible way," said Governor John Carney.
Brady has since apologized for the email through a spokesman and in a Facebook post.
"There is no excuse I can offer that explains my embarrassing and shameful words that insulted, stereotyped and dehumanized an entire culture while making light of a serious human rights crisis. Whether I think someone’s policy proposal is legitimate is immaterial; human trafficking deserves to be treated seriously and attacked aggressively – not treated as a punchline.
"Quite frankly, my words matter, both as a state legislator and as a person, and I deeply apologize for the inexcusable language I used. No one should use those terms or joke about a life-or-death situation like human trafficking – ever. More than ever right now, we are seeing the negative impact that words our leaders use can have, leading to discrimination, violence or worse. I have to do better. I hope that I can deter others from using similar language, and I intend to reflect deeply on my words and will try to take action to better our community."
The Anti-Defamation League said there's been increased cases of xenophobia and racism, especially against the Asian-American/Pacific Islander community, since the coronavirus pandemic began. You can report instances of a bias, racist, or anti-Semitic by clicking here.
"What he said was horrific and completely unacceptable--and he admitted that--and he admitted his mistake. That's just not acceptable, that kind of language here. That creates the kind of tension that we're seeing among communities," said Carney.
Delaware Democratic Party leader Travis Williams criticized Brady, who also serves as executive director of the Delaware AFL-CIO.
"[It's] disgusting, frankly. We can't stand for that sort of language in our party," said Williams.
In April of 2020, the AFL-CIO's president James Maravelias apologized to the Anti-Defamation League for xenophobic and anti-Semitic Facebook posts that have since been removed.
But Williams also stopped short of calling for his resignation, noting the party has no power to force Brady to step down. That power rests with Brady himself or the voters who, he said, can find someone whose values align with theirs when they go to the polls.
"If they feel that he doesn't, I'm sure that they will find someone he does," said Williams.
"Constituents hold elected officials to account when they find that their words or actions aren't meeting the standard that's acceptable," said Carney.