Why the women on Seattle's city council are being harassed by angry male basketball fans​

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As a Seattle-area native, I'm dismayed by the absence of the Sonics, the city's former NBA team. (Sometimes, I cry myself to sleep imagining Russell Westbrook in a Seattle uniform.)


Businessman Chris Hansen has been attempting to bring back the Sonics for years, and he figures the first step in that process is to build a brand-new arena to signal their viability as an expansion city to the NBA. Let's bring the Sonics back! It's a good idea. But perhaps not at the expense of valuable middle-class port jobs, which the proposed legislation purportedly risked.

“I am in solidarity not with the Port of Seattle, but with the Port workers and the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) who are trying to stand up against these forces of gentrification," the Seattle Times reported Councilmember Kshama Sawant as saying.


Turns out Hansen lost 5-4, the five votes being the five women on the City Council. Sadly and predictably, these women have been subject to constant harassment since the vote. Via the Seattle Times:

“So the women bonded together and voted NO?” a Facebook commenter wrote, according to a post on the blog The C is For Crank.

“And people want a woman to be president,” a Twitter user added, the blog Seattlish reported.

“I think someone should smash Kshama Sawant’s head into a brick wall,” another Twitter user wrote.

This person was not at all coy in expressing his sexism:

One email to each of the women began, “As women, I understand that you spend a lot of your time trying to please others (mostly on your knees) but I can only hope that you each find ways to quickly and painfully end yourselves.”


Both Hansen and Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray came out against the harassment, but it doesn't appear to have stopped. Over the weekend, the New York Times talked to Councilmember Lorena González, who indicated she didn't need the support of men.

“When we are dealing with sexism, we have to understand that we need to give women opportunity to lead and to stand on their own two feet because that’s what we do every day, and while I appreciate the intentions to defend us, I would have certainly appreciated some consultation before the statements were made,” González told the New York Times.


Don't be one of these bad men.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.

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