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Scott Orsini

Tampa Bay

City Council candidate apologizes for ‘crass’ tweets against women, LGBTQ community

“My tweets used insensitive language, is sexually explicit in nature, is generally immature.”

St. Petersburg City Council candidate Scott Orsini is apologizing for past comments on Twitter that came across, as he describes it, as “crass, insensitive, and immature.”

“In the course of reviewing the past 10 years of my digital life — approximately 29,000 tweets, retweets, and replies to tweets — I found that in an effort to be humorous I tweeted a small number of tweets to and about women and the LGTBQ community,” Orsini wrote in an apology letter to supporters. 

“Though my tweets were insensitive: they did not bully; they did not incite violence; and they did not discriminate. They were childish tweets that were made in an attempt to be clever or humorous. They were not. This is a humiliating and humbling experience and one that I will not repeat,” Orsini wrote. 

He mentioned one tweet in specific made in 2013 that “mentions the LGBTQ community in an unflattering light.”

“I thought about getting a bicep tattoo and then I remembered it wasn’t 1992 and that I’m not a lesbian,” Orsini wrote in 2013.

In past years, Orsini also posted tweets referencing sex acts, race and one insulting vegans.

Orsini offered an insulting response to a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the group asked, “#SureSexIsGreatBut – have you ever tried it while vegan?”

“You can’t last longer because you rarely get laid because who wants to f— a preachy vegan really,” Orsini wrote. 

Another post came across as potentially racially incentive and was directed at former Florida Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw.

I supported Sean Shaw because I’ve liked him ever since we ran together for the Florida House back in 2014. Oddly enough I actually forgot he was black,” Orsini wrote. “To me he was always just a really good guy who wanted to do the right thing.”

In another tweet, Orsini claimed he opened a porn star tweet while sitting in court waiting on a hearing. Orsini is a lawyer. 

“My tweets used insensitive language, is sexually explicit in nature, is generally immature, and does not represent who I am,” Orsini wrote. “There is no excuse for this behavior. Despite my embarrassment, I thank 2013 Scott Orsini for not only reminding me that Twitter should not be a venue for sophomoric humor, but instead a platform for exchanging democratic ideas and a marketplace of change.”

Orsini said that rather than hiding from his past actions, he instead is using it as a learning opportunity “to make myself and St Pete’s digital community a better, safer place.”

Orsini plans to announce two new community events his campaign is sponsoring that will address cyberbullying and insensitive online communications.

“Going forward, I will volunteer time to discuss cyberbullying and online insensitivity at schools and in the workforce. I hope that my experience is a lesson for the next generation to understand how powerful of a tool social media can truly be,” Orsini wrote. 

Orsini is running for St. Pete City Council District 1 in an open race to replace Charlie Gerdes who is leaving office due to term limits. 

Orsini faces two opponents Robert Blackmon and John Hornbeck.

The primary election for his race is August 27. The top two vote-getters in that race will advance to the November 5 general election. 

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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