Gemma staffer says he left campaign due to homophobia

Aug 27, 2012

Joseph Lazzerini, who says he was Anthony Gemma’s field director and a paid staffer until he quit August 8, says in a statement released moments ago that he left the campaign because of a homophobic atmosphere at the Gemma campaign office.

Lazzerini, formerly of Providence, says he now lives in South Attleboro.

His statement reads:

“I’ve been following the unfortunate events that unfolded today between the Gemma campaign and the Democratic Party of Rhode Island. As a former Gemma campaign staffer, I felt it was important to issue the following statement:’’

“This kind of hurtful, intolerant smear has no place in electoral politics. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time I heard someone in the Gemma campaign make such a suggestion about David Cicilline. It made me uncomfortable and I communicated to my direct supervisor that I felt this effort was moving the campaign in the wrong direction – both tactically and morally. Ultimately, the fact that the Gemma team continued to pursue this line of inappropriate messaging was a major part of why I resigned.’’

“The attitude that Mr. Sionni communicated today is pervasive in the Gemma organization,’’ states Lazzerini. “As an openly gay man I am well aware of the ignorant implications often directed towards the LBGT community and I am incredibly they would stoop to such low depths in order to win a campaign.’’

Lazzerini said he was scheduled to hoist a fund-raiser for Gemma Wednesday but says he “will no longer be having any involvement with the Gemma campaign.’’