School officials are scrambling to clear up rumors an elected official in Michigan is spreading. And this isn’t the first time she’s used fear or lies to shape her constituents’ beliefs. Here is the latest.
Need to Know
- The Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair has been asked to resign after spreading lies to her constituents
- She scared parents into believing Michigan schools were using litter boxes for kids who “identify as cats” and labeled Lt. Gov Garlin Gilchrist a “scary masked man” amid the state’s ongoing COVID surge
- Michiganders first called for her resignation when she falsely signed election documents from the 2020 race
MICHIGAN—While most Michiganders were enjoying their weekends and taking in a Packers playoff loss with quiet glee, Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock spent it facing backlash following a bender of racist comments and bizarre lies she posted to social media.
In a Twitter post on Thursday, Maddock labeled Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, who is Black, a “scary masked man” who would make babies cry. Earlier in the day, Gilchrist had posted a video of himself talking about finally resuming public activities after testing positive for COVID-19. Gilchrist was wearing a mask while he spoke—a reasonable enough decision by a state leader at a time when COVID-19 cases in Michigan remain through the roof.
Maddock tried to claim that she described Gilchrist as “scary” because children are going “to be scared by government agents forcing mandates on them that make it harder for them to learn.”
“It’s scary that our schools aren’t open yet, and students are going (through) another year of learning loss,” Maddock wrote in a text to the Detroit News. “Gilchrist and (Gov. Gretchen) Whitmer are frightening us all with their insane policies. Scary.”
The Whitmer administration has left decisions on masks and whether schools should operate in person or virtually up to local school districts—which, ironically, is the sort of local governance Republicans usually advocate for.
Maddock also took her act to Facebook, where she spread a lie that Midland Public Schools were allowing kids who identify as furries to use litter boxes in school bathrooms.
The false claim that furries—people who have an interest in animal characters that have been given human characteristics and sometimes dress up as them—used litter boxes originated from a video of a school board meeting in December. During the meeting, a speaker, Lisa Hansen, said she had been told by someone that litter boxes had been added to “unisex bathrooms” for students who “identify as cats.”
“Kids who identify as ‘furries’ get a litter box in the school bathroom,” Maddock wrote in a Facebook post sharing the video of the board meeting. “Parent heroes will TAKE BACK our schools.”
Maddock’s post amplified the absurd rumor and forced Michael Sharrow, the superintendent of Midland Public Schools, to issue a statement debunking the lie.
“It is unconscionable that this afternoon I am sending this communication,” Sharrow wrote to parents on Thursday. “There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation! There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools. It is such a source of disappointment that I felt the necessity to communicate this message to you.”
“It’s more clear than ever that she does not belong in a leadership position,” said Sam Inglot, deputy director of Progress Michigan. “From her attempts to overturn Michigan’s election results and involvement in organizing buses to D.C. on January 6th, 2021, Maddock is not one to shy away from baseless conspiracies that have real and lasting damage to our state. It’s long past time for her to step down or be removed from her position.”