Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward says she manages her own social media accounts.
That includes her Twitter, on which she recently described someone as a misogynist and called them a vulgar term for “jerk” in response to a particular tweet. The word was partially censored.
The insult was part of an exchange Woodward had with a user Tuesday, which was International Women’s Day.
The exchange stemmed from a tweet Woodward shared recognizing the city of Limerick, sharing a photo of her in a video chat. Limerick, one of Spokane’s sister cities, is expected to be the first city in Ireland with a directly elected mayor.
A user, who identified himself as Terry Parker, commented on the photo with a tweet that said, “look at t.v. girl’s script. For a phone call. The suit cannot be more empty. Or the Mayor’s chair.”
“I used the word … in the pejorative term of being despicable,” Woodward said Thursday in an interview with The Spokesman-Review.
Parker responded by calling her a partially censored profanity in a tweet that was “liked” by another user, one who claims in their profile to be a therapist.
Woodward tweeted a screenshot of that person’s like – and, by extension, the profanity – in criticizing that user for liking such a post.
“We’ve got a long way to go in improving our mental health resources!” she said in her tweet.
Woodward said she isn’t planning to make a habit out of such discourse, saying she has “a lot of more important things to do than go after trolls on Twitter.”
“I’m not going to apologize for that tweet,” Woodward said. “It wasn’t my finest moment, but I wanted to push back on a nameless coward who trolls me constantly and push back on men who degrade and belittle the talents and successes of women because of their gender.
“It’s time for more women to push back against misogynists like that.”
Parker, who is a Spokane native, denies that he is a misogynist or an online troll. Rather, he described himself Thursday as a consistent critic of Woodward, saying she uses social media “as just a fluff piece” while the problems she was elected to address get worse.
Regarding the “t.v. girl” comment – Woodward previously worked as a TV news journalist – Parker claims it wasn’t derogatory or misogynistic, saying he considers himself a feminist.
Regarding the profanity he used after she called him a vulgarity, Parker said, “You mess with the cat, you get the claws.”
“The point of that tweet isn’t ‘t.v. girl.’ It’s scripted crapola,” he said. “It’s not what she’s trying to make it out to be whatsoever. It’s criticizing her using that mayor’s office as this complete PR thing to try to dust over that she’s not doing what she was elected to do. That’s not misogynistic at all.”
Asked whether it’s appropriate for her to use such language, particularly given her position as mayor, Woodward said, “I’m as human as anybody else.”
“I think I would like to encourage other women to push back on trolls and bullies and misogynists, because women have come a long way in a lot of respects,” Woodward said, “but in other ways we haven’t when we’re subjected to this type of behavior by men regularly, and I get it all of the time. And you know what? I’m just sick and tired of it.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.