7th District challenger’s Facebook account no longer accessible after allegations of racism and homophobia
7th District Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez has accused her party-backed challenger Manny Morales of posting racist, homophobic, and anti-immigrant views on his personal Facebook account.
The website MeetMannyMorales.com, launched by Friends of Maria, refers to Morales as “a Tea Party candidate.” The page contains dozens of screenshots of Morales’ various posts, which contain explicit and implicit views on various hot-button issues.
The screenshots were doctored slightly to highlight names and specific sentences. As of 7:00 p.m. on Monday evening, public access to Morales’ personal Facebook page has been denied.
We did, however, take some undoctored screenshots of his Facebook content before the page went offline. Short of the highlights, Friends of Maria did not alter the content of the original posts. Some of them published on the anti-Morales website, however, had already been deleted.
Here, Morales shares a post from the “Breaking Obama” Facebook page, with a comment from State Representative Angel Cruz telling him to “Go back to [Puerto Rico].”
Despite the tone of his message, Cruz has in fact come out in full support of Morales in his bid against Sanchez. Regarding the allegations, Cruz questioned the authenticity of the indicting material published on MeetMannyMorales.com and claimed that Quiñones may be using this as a smear tactic:
“[Sanchez] has no one to support her in the district so she is trying to diminish his name in black areas, in gay areas, in all areas,” Cruz said. “How do we know this is not photoshop, [or] if he did it or didn’t do it?”
When printed, the objectionable materials of the website total over 50 pages. The posts date back as far as March 2010, and continue up until November 2014.
Here, in two original screenshots, Morales posts about his frustration with undocumented immigrants and his support of voter ID.
Manny Morales, a Puerto Rican block captain, committee person for the 62th ward and former state labor investigator announced his candidacy on Feb. 16. Of the 13 ward leaders in the district, 12 endorsed Morales and there was one abstention.
Morales has been a resident of Philadelphia since 2006 and currently lives in the Frankford sector. For seven years he worked as an income maintenance worker and a labor investigator. He grew up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, as well as New York City, and graduated with a degree in criminal justice from Universidad del Este.
In addition to Cruz and other Philadelphia Democrats, Mayoral candidate Judge Nelson Diaz has backed Manny Morales as well, calling him his “running mate.” Just last Friday Diaz told AL DÍA that his support was not decided by the Democratic party lines, but by his faith in Morales:
“This endorsement is entirely about Manny. He's the right choice for the 7th District because he has the energy and the ideas we need to move Philadelphia forward," Diaz said.
Following the new accusations, Diaz’s Communications Director Barry Caro said the campaign is declining to comment at this time.
Here, Morales re-posts an image in January 2014 comparing a Black man to a wild animal with the caption “Awsome picture” [sic].
While Sanchez has two terms as a councilwoman under her belt, Morales is a virtual unknown in city politics. His endorsement by Congressman Robert Brady, chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee, has received mixed responses.
Christopher Sawyer, the anti-blight and property rights activist and candidate for Philadelphia Sheriff, said Sunday that he was baffled when he heard Morales was running with Democratic support. Prior to the release of MeetMannyMorales.com, Sawyer had referred to the material on Morales’ personal Facebook account as “crypto-racist.”
"The guy's a joke,” he said. "Everybody on both sides of the El knows it."
In an article on Philadelinquency, Sawyer notes the uniqueness of the the 7th district in that Sanchez has been elected twice without the support of the Democratic machine.
Cruz, however, said that the ward leaders and other committee members were undeterred by the allegations, and that they will continue to support Morales.
“We are going to respond and show that we are trying to run a clean campaign, we are not trying to ruin anybody’s reputation,” he said. “What we come with is all facts.”