Jeff Hayner is recalled by Ann Arbor City Council for homophobic abuse
ANN ARBOR, MI – Jeff Hayner, a member of Ann Arbor City Council, is the target of a recall after using a quote with a homophobic bow to attack journalists on social media.
Ariah Shugat, a registered voter in Hayner’s ward, filed a recall petition Monday, April 26, said Ed Golembiewski, election officer for Washtenaw County.
The district’s electoral commission will meet practically at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 11, to review the petition language for clarity and objectivity, Golembiewski said.
If approved, Shugat can begin collecting the 2,264 signatures needed from Department 1 voters to force a special November recall election. The number of signatures required equals 25% of the votes cast in the last governor’s race in the community.
Petition signatures would have to be submitted to the district clerk’s office by July 30 at 5:00 p.m. for a district 1 recall election on November 2, Golembiewski said.
Recall elections can only be held on May and November election dates, and signatures on a recall request that is more than 60 days old at the time of submission will be invalid, he said.
Hayner declined to comment on the recall petition other than saying it was Shugat’s right, and he wished her the best of luck.
Schugat’s petition lists this reason for the recall: “On or about April 10, 2021, Jeff Hayner posted a quote on social media about journalists that contained a homophobic sheet. The city council then imposed sanctions by withdrawing committee appointments by December 2021. “
Ann Arbor City Council has been relieved of homophobic abuse committee duties
In response to an MLive column shared on a Facebook group about harassment from the news media, Hayner used a quote from Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Disgust in Las Vegas,” which said, “The press is one Gang of cruel F * *****. Journalism is not a profession or trade. It’s a cheap all-rounder for f **** offs and outsiders – a fake door to the back of life, a dirty little hole pinned by the building inspector but just deep enough for a wino to curl up off the sidewalk and like a chimp in swarming around a zoo cage. “
As a bisexual non-binary member of the LGBTQ community, Schugat said she insulted Hayner with the quote and initially doubled over without apologizing to the injured.
“I feel that after reading this post, Mr Hayner’s post and actions are worth recalling as he is a harmful word, harms many people in the LGBTQ community in various ways, and he refused to be accountable in any way to accept, “said Shugat.
“At first he doubled … said people were just going to insult things … and when he realized the backlash wasn’t going to stop, he apologized.”
At the April 19 meeting, when the council voted 8-2 against Hayner’s committee duties, Hayner reiterated an apology made in response to the community backlash.
“I acknowledge that the language I have quoted is offensive and I acknowledge my poor judgment and I sincerely apologize for the damage I have done to the community,” Hayner said.
“Personally, I’ve always tried to move forward and uphold the rights of the LGBTQ community in Ann Arbor as long as I’ve had the opportunity since the 1980s. I reaffirm these efforts tonight and assure everyone who listens out there, especially our youth, that you are welcome to our church and are a valued part of our church. “
Hayner still defended himself against the resolution, arguing that he had not violated any council rules or state law and should not be stripped of his duties. He also defended his criticism of “quote-unquotation journalists”, saying he has been “suspicious of the media” for decades and that the media controls people’s minds.
Ann Arbor Councilor criticizes and defends the use of quotes with a homophobic slur
Temporary relief from committee assignments is not enough, said Shugat, who said her concern about Hayner’s behavior extends beyond this incident and that she feared it won’t stop unless someone turns against him.
“I believe if Mr. Hayner is really representing Ward 1 as he believes, this is his opportunity to prove it in a recall election,” said Shugat.
Shugat said she doesn’t know who might challenge Hayner in a recall election, but she doesn’t plan to run.
The district’s website explains the nomination process for candidates for recall elections. Hayner will automatically be the Democratic Party candidate unless he declines within 10 days of filing the recall request.
Hayner, D-1st Ward, was first elected in November 2018 for a four-year term and is up for re-election in 2022 if he is not ousted in a recall this year.
In an email to the entire city council the morning after his committee assignments were stripped, Hayner told his colleagues, “Mission accomplished”.
“When I joined the council in 2018, I said I would be satisfied if I could accomplish two things: put the Gelman cloud cleanup under EPA oversight and expose the city council’s endemic hypocrisy. Thank you for making this a reality! I wouldn’t have made it without you, ”he wrote.
In a later email complaining about the loss of his orders, he added, “I am still disgusted at the lack of due process this body offers me, your repeated attempts to identify myself as bigot and homophobia characterize, and the obvious political bias that hangs over this body. “
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