Next to Hillary Clinton’s private e-mails, I’m just about tired of hearing about those damn Porngate ones.
However, the three city prosecutors connected to the hundreds of received pornographic, misogynistic and racist emails – Frank Fina, Marc Costanzo and Patrick Blessington – shouldn’t be forgotten. Not as long as they continue to be paid with our taxpayer dollars and stand responsible for the prosecution of cases involving women, people of color and everyone else.
Related link: Three Philly prosecutors get sensitivity training
Our District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams is still justifying his decision to punish the prosecutors’ misconduct with crappy sensitivity training. In spite of the elected women of City Council calling for their resignation, Williams just won’t let go of the questionable ethics that’s now overshadowed his office.
"How can they prosecute individuals in this city when their own ethics are in question?" Councilwoman Marian Tasco told the press. "They're lawyers. They should know right from wrong…would [sensitivity training] help? I don't know. What does it really do?"
The answer is nothing.
These men knew better, and if they didn’t, that further proves they’re no longer fit to prosecute others. Sexism is the only viable explanation as to why Williams is upholding this double standard. To think otherwise would be displaying gender bias at its finest.
It angers me to know that a working-class Philadelphian could get fired if they got caught sharing just one of those emails while some white-collar prosecutors aren’t when exposed for engaging with hundreds.
At this point, Williams’ reluctance is no longer a lapse in judgment, but a testament to how ingrained sexism is in Philly politics. Could a woman have gotten away with such disgusting behavior? Would Williams have tolerated this email sharing if it was gay porn instead?
Related link: See the porn emails behind the AG Kane scandal (NSFW)
Philadelphia’s first black district attorney is giving three white prosecutors who dealt in racist e-mails a slap on the wrist. Would the same courtesy been extended to him if it was the other way around? I strongly doubt it.
As a black gay Philadelphian, I know that white male privilege in America goes so far that it surpasses reality and skips over ethics.
It’s a public embarrassment knowing that countless women and people of color are going to be prosecuted by three white men who partook in the objectifying of their sexuality for instant gratification. It’s disheartening to know that these men are getting this pass from a black man whom many in this city elected to restore justice.
Instead, we are seeing politics as usual in Philadelphia and it’s not promising. But perhaps voters next cycle should keep this in mind when it’s time for Williams’ reelection.
I’m not voting for him. My mind is made up already. As a feminist, it’s clear that he doesn’t have my best interests at heart – and his faltering leadership probably won’t be strong enough to ensure yours either.
Perhaps if you’re an old white straight man with shaky ethics, he might get your vote. As for the rest us, I suggest we start looking for a more sensible alternative.
The views stated in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect those of Metro US.