Oliver denounces campaign spokesman’s ‘inappropriate, distasteful comment’ about Abraham [updated]

     Mayoral candidate Doug Oliver denounced a Tweet sent out by spokesman Mustafa Rashed (right) regarding Lynne Abraham fainting at Tuesday's debate. (Tracie Van Auken/for NewsWorks)

    Mayoral candidate Doug Oliver denounced a Tweet sent out by spokesman Mustafa Rashed (right) regarding Lynne Abraham fainting at Tuesday's debate. (Tracie Van Auken/for NewsWorks)

    Sorry, everybody who had Jim Kenney picked out for the most unfortunate Tweet of Philadelphia’s mayoral campaign, but you were wrong.

    In a Friday morning post, the Daily News‘ William Bender reported that Doug Oliver’s campaign spokesman Mustafa Rashed sent out an unfortunate Tweet and email from a private account.

    “PR stunt or for real? #TheCollapse” Bellevue Media Group tweeted out Wednesday morning with a link to the debate story and a video of Abraham, 74, falling to the ground while state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams was answering the first question of the evening.

    Yeah. That’s not good at all. So bad, in fact, that Oliver issued a 213-word response:

    “I was surprised to read about the inappropriate and distasteful comment about my fellow Mayoral candidate, Lynne Abraham, in this morning’s Daily News.

    The tweet and email were sent from private accounts, unrelated to the Oliver for Mayor campaign, but I fully understand that, by association, my campaign is implicated by them.

    I do not, nor does the Oliver for Mayor campaign, condone the mean-spirited messages. We have purposely avoided needless personal commentary and will continue to do so. The remarks are not consistent with the character of my campaign or me, personally.

    I do not believe that the fainting incident was a publicity stunt and find the comments to be in poor form. It is not okay to joke about personal and potentially serious health issues and I regret that the comments were made – regardless of who made them.

    This mayoral campaign trail is rigorous and I have a tremendous amount of respect for each and every one of my fellow candidates, including Lynne Abraham, who work hard every day, often at personal expense to improve our City.

    I reject the unnecessary and inaccurate comments and have made my opinion known to my campaign team. In addition to this statement, I intend to reach out to Ms. Abraham personally this morning.”

    NinetyNine contacted the Abraham campaign Friday afternoon and spokesman Sam Coleman confirmed that Oliver did, in fact, follow through with that intention. And, Abraham accepted the apology.

    “This morning I received a voicemail from Doug Oliver,” read a statement from Abraham. “He apologized for the statements made by his Campaign Chairman Mustafa Rashed on his twitter account and in an e-mail exchange with a reporter.

    “Mr. Oliver repudiated Mr. Rashed’s comments and said he knew nothing of it and pledged to take corrective action within his campaign. He promised to issue an apology in writing, across all social media platforms, and offered me his personal apology, which I’m pleased to accept. The campaign continues.”

    For his part, Rashed told NinetyNine, “It shouldn’t be so easy to be an idiot. I apologize to Lynne for being insensitive about the situation. This campaign deserves better than my ill-attempt at humor.”

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