SEATTLE – Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle arena investor Chris Hansen called out fans Wednesday who are spouting what he calls hateful and sexist rhetoric toward the five city council members who voted against vacating Occidental Avenue for the arena this week.
The full council voted 5-4 against giving up one block of Occidental Avenue to make way for Hansen’s proposed basketball/hockey arena. The vote put the arena, which still has 18 months left on the memorandum of understanding, in jeopardy.
All four male city council members voted yes.
All five female city council members voted no.
That has led to a backlash of emails, phone calls and social media posts by arena supporters against the “no” voters – including comments that have targeted their gender.
"While we are all naturally frustrated with the outcome, I know that the vast majority of our passionate and dedicated supporters agree with me that such comments have absolutely no place in our community," said Hansen in a statement. "While we may not agree with the Council’s vote, misogynistic insults, vile comments and threats are unacceptable and need to stop. We should all show respect for our elected officials and the legislative process, even if we disagree with their decision."
Murray said "Seattle is better than this."
“The disappointment some felt at the outcome of the vote is understandable. But what is not understandable is to bring gender into the conversation. It is wrong. To spout sexist rhetoric about councilmembers is wrong. This must stop,” said Murray, a supporter of building a new arena.
Murray, who is gay, says he’s been targeted with homophobic comments in the past and understands it comes with the job of mayor. But he urged fans to take a higher road.
“Do you really want to talk about women this way? Do you really want to talk about your mothers? Your sisters? Your daughters?” asked Murray. “Is that really the image of sportsmanship or sportspersonship that we want to leave particularly to your daughters? I ask you all to back down, back off, and apologize.”
Deeply disappointed to see some supporters of SODO street vacation lash out w/ misogynistic sexist vitriol toward members of @SeattleCouncil— Ed Murray (@MayorEdMurray) May 4, 2016
Regardless of how you felt about the proposal, there is no place for this kind of hateful rhetoric.— Ed Murray (@MayorEdMurray) May 4, 2016