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Meet the queer Latino activist who outed Facebook bigotry

While City Council hopeful Manny Morales is claiming that offensive posts discovered on his Facebook account are the results of a hacker, a resident of the 7th District insists that they are not — and that Morales even wrote him personally from the account.

After Louie Ortiz criticized posts by Morales last week that he found to be offensive, he received a Facebook message from a Morales account “praying at me — not for me,” Ortiz said.

“Are you referring to me as racist, classist and homophobic? If so I am obligated to respond; ‘Father, forgive him, for he do not know what he is saying,’” [sic] says a Facebook message sent from an account called Manny Morales, which Ortiz shared with Metro.

The message continues with more prayers. Ortiz, who is gay, believes the intention of the message was to convert his sexual orientation.

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“I’m upset that someone like this could be representing me,” Ortiz said.

He said he passed on posts from the Facebook account to a friend who works on Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez’ campaign, who Morales is challenging for the Democratic nomination to run for the 7th City Council district seat. Ortiz said others noticed the Facebook and may have shared it with the campaign as well. He said he does not work for or exclusively support the Quinones-Sanchez campaign, but as a constituent of the district felt he had to share the information.

Sanchez’ campaign then posted images of the alleged Facebook posts dating back to 2010 that include racist jokes and posts espousing right-wing views on MeetMannyMorales.com.

Morales has responded by saying that the posts are the fake results of his account being hacked, and that he will seek legal action.

“Any 12-year-old can manipulate and 'hack' or transpose any social media site,” said a statement from Morales campaign.

Ortiz, founder of The Gran Varones, a mixed media project focused on the stories Latino gay men, doesn’t buy that story. He asserted that Morales operated the account, which was reportedly deleted after MeetMannyMorales.com went live.

Morales' campaign declined to comment Wednesday on Ortiz' Facebook message.

"We're moving on and not going backwards," a spokesman said. "We're campaigning, not spending all day every day responding to tweets and alleged Facebook posts."

Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez told Metro Tuesday she suspected Morales might have an inappropriate Facebook account after he unfriended her — but she was “amazed” when she saw the actual posts after her campaign discovered it.

Now, calls are being made for Morales to drop out of the race.

“I’m not sure that I have ever before read statements by a Democratic Party candidate for public office that are so vile and nasty – against President Obama, against various racial and minority groups, and against everything that the Democratic Party has for so long been fighting,” Mayor Michael Nutter said in a statement.

“It is disgusting that he would find support from any Democrat or any decent person in this city,” the statement continued. “Since it appears that the posts were made by Mr. Morales on his personal social media account, I am hopeful that he will do the decent thing and withdraw as a candidate in this race.”

Morales’ was officially endorsed by the Democratic City Committee last month to run against Quinones-Sanchez for the Democratic nomination in the May primary.

Quinones-Sanchez has represented her district for two terms, but she has never been officially endorsed by the Democratic City Committee, who chooses a candidate based on the votes of ward leaders.

State senator and mayoral candidate Anthony Williams released a statement calling on Morales to drop out as well.

“The public statements attributed to Mr. Morales are clearly divisive. Those associated with his endorsement should withdraw it, and Mr. Morales should withdraw his candidacy.”

32BJ of the Service Employees International Union released a statement officially endorsing Quinones-Sanchez in the race, and also dropping the hammer on Morales for his alleged Facebook account:

“If www.MeetMannyMorales.com is an accurate reflection of Manny Morales’ opinions and priorities, we are even more convinced that he is an inappropriate candidate and we will double down on our efforts to re-elect Quiñones-Sánchez,” 32BJ said in a statement released by spokeswoman Julie Karant.

 
 
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