SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Springfield residents are demanding answers from town officials after a post on the town of Springfield’s official Facebook page of a viral copy-and-paste statement that discusses homosexuality and political affiliation has them questioning who is in charge.
Numerous residents took to a local Facebook group, “Happenings in and Around Springfield Vermont,” Monday evening after discovering a post had been made to the town of Springfield’s official Facebook story around 1:30 p.m.
The shared post, connected with an individual by the name of Ann Noweck, reads as follows: “You know folks, I never cared that you were gay, until you started shoving it down my throat, and I never cared what color you were, til you started blaming me for your problems, and I never cared about you political affiliation, until you started condemning mine. I really never even cared where you were born, until you wanted to erase my history, and blame my ancestors for your problems. You know I never cared if your beliefs were different than mine, until you said my beliefs were wrong, but now I care, my patience and tolerance are gone, and I am not alone in feeling like this, there are millions of us who feel like this.”
Assistant to the Town Manager Brian Benoit addressed the post and discussion surrounding it via email correspondence early Tuesday afternoon, but many things remain unknown.
According to the email, Benoit, the “main user” with administrator access to the page, was alerted to “an inflammatory Facebook post related indirectly to the Town of Springfield” early Monday afternoon and immediately investigated the situation. Upon signing in, Benoit “did not find any irregular or controversial posts on the town’s official page,” but “did discover a chain of comments relating to a strongly expressed post that was indirectly associated with the Town of Springfield.”
It remains unclear what the term “indirectly” is referring to in Benoit’s comments as the post was made by and on the town of Springfield’s official Facebook page.
“Because the heated discussion occurred in a local context I was able to identify a person who could take the offensive post down,” Benoit wrote in an email. “And I did so.”
But as of 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday the post was still viewable on the town of Springfield’s official Facebook story. At 1:26 p.m., the post on the page’s story, which erases automatically after 24 hours, was gone.
Residents shared mixed feelings about the post. While some critiqued the “privilege” expressed in the statement, others saw nothing wrong with the content but still didn’t feel as though it was appropriate for it to be on the town’s official social media.
Many commenters demanded to know who runs the account and who posted it. Some instead proposed the explanation that the account was hacked, but no evidence of that has been made available.
Benoit did not reply to a request for an interview.