Massachusetts governor backs away from tweet on sexual assault

CNN Political Ticker,

(CNN) – A controversial tweet sent from the state of Massachusetts’ official Twitter account about sexual assault sent Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick into damage-control mode on Thursday.

The tweet, sent Wednesday from @Mass.gov, read “Sexual assault is always avoidable” with the hashtag #SAAM and a logo for sexual assault awareness month.

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“It was a stupid comment that certainly does not reflect the views of this administration or my own, or frankly the director of the organization that photo’d [sic] them,” Patrick said, according to CNN affiliate WGGB in Massachusetts.

Twitter users on Wednesday blasted the tweet as insensitive and, about 12 hours later, the account removed the tweet.

In response, one user replied:

“@MassGov: Sexual assault is always avoidable." Oh yeah? Don't you think if it was avoidable it wouldn't happen? #mapoli #stopvictimblaming
Tina StGelais Kelly (@tinastgkelly) May 01, 2014

And another:

@MassGov @Mass_HHS What an #ignorant statement! #Sexual #Assault IS NOT always avoidable! What a shameful, insulting statement from our gvt—
  (@Boston2CapeCod) May 01, 2014

Thursday morning, Mass.gov Director Geoff Kula posted an apology to the Twitter account and on the state’s official website.

“I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims. We in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them,” he said on Twitter.

This isn’t the first time a governor has put distance between their administration and a social media mishap of an affiliated group.

Last month, a Twitter account for the Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn re-election campaign, @QuinnForIL, tweeted out an article containing controversial views on race. After the public blasted the article’s inflammatory language, the campaign later deleted the tweet and apologized.

CNN’s Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.


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