An online news outlet in New York state has obtained dozens of emails, many of them racist and sexually graphic, which it reports were sent by Carl Paladino, the Tea-Party-backed Republican candidate for governor of New York, to a long list of political and business associates. One email shows a video of an African tribal dance, entitled “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal,” while another depicts hardcore bestiality.
Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, would not comment on specific emails, but acknowledged to TPMmuckraker that Paladino had sent emails that were “off-color” and “politically incorrect,” saying that few such emails represented the candidate’s own opinion. Caputo accused Democrats of wanting to change the subject from substantive issues to “having sex with horses.”
The news outlet that obtained the emails, WNYmedia.net, a western New York media company, says it confirmed that at least some of the emails were authentic by contacting several people who had received them.
Paladino, a wealthy western New York real-estate developer, has become a darling of the Tea Party movement over the last year, and launched his campaign for governor last week after being urged to do so by Tea Party leaders. Paladino is staunchly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, and has said he considers himself “the only Republican in the race who agrees 100 percent with conservative values.”
But the slew of emails, obtained by WNYmedia.net, a western New York media company, depict a different side of the candidate. Here are descriptions some of the most eyebrow-raising:
• An October 2009 email with a photograph showing President Obama and the First Lady dressed in 70s-era blaxploitation pimp and prostitute costumes while attending a formal event at the White House. Here’s the photo, courtesy of WNYmedia.net:
• A December 2008 email showing a video of African tribesmen performing a traditional dance. The video is entitled “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal.”
• A September 2009 email entitled, “Easy Steady Big Fella….XXXX,” with a photograph that graphically depicts a horse having sex with a woman.
• A January 2010 email, containing a hardcore pornographic video entitled “Miss France 2008 F[***]ing.”
• A July 2009 email showing a photograph of an airplane landing directly behind a group of black men. The caption reads: “Holy Sh*t. run ni**ers, run!”
When one recipient complained about the “Obama inauguration” email, calling Paladino a racist, Paladino responded by apologizing “if that is offensive.” He added: “I’m not a racist and have never related Obama’s color to my political distaste for him….I’m not sensitive to ethnic humor.”
Other emails from Paladino are here. All the emails were either originally sent, or forwarded, by Paladino, WNYmedia confirms. The emails went to a long list of Paladino associates, in local and state government, politics, and business.
In a statement to TPMmuckraker, Caputo, the campaign manager, said:
Carl Paladino has forwarded close friends hundreds of email messages he received. Many of these emails he received were off color, some were politically incorrect, few represented his own opinion, and almost none of them were worth remembering.
We’re not surprised the political establishment feels threatened by Carl’s drive the take Albany back for taxpayers. Our campaign won’t be wading through the details of what is just another liberal Democrat blog smear. It figures that members of the Party who brought us record taxes, record spending and record debt would want to change the topic from reform to having sex with horses and S&M parlors.
The S&M parlor is a reference to one of Paladino’s rivals for the GOP nomination, Steve Levy, who, it was reported today, once lived with an ex-con who had pleaded guilty in a mortgage fraud scheme involving an S&M club.
Paladino lacks the institutional support enjoyed by the front-runners for the GOP nomination, former congressman Rick Lazio and Levy, a county executive. But Paladino has said he’s willing to spend $10 million of his own fortune on the race, meaning he could be a factor nonetheless.
This is hardly the first time that the outspoken Paladino, 63, has courted controversy. He recently said that health-care reform “will kill more Americans through deteriorating health care than were lost on 9/11.” After Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) criticized the comment, Paladino declared in a letter in response: “I am not impressed that you kissed enough asses to chair a committee of politicians in the Congress.”
In 2008, he said at a public forum in Buffalo that the only reason Public Schools Superintendent James Williams had been hired was because he is black.
And we recently learned that the long-married, conservative Paladino fathered a child during an extramarital affair in the 90s.
Late Update: Paladino has responded to the email brouhaha at a press conference, declaring he’s not a racist, and adding:
To any of the ladies I’ve offended, I apologize. I say this to the men out there who have never opened a graphic image on the Internet: Don’t vote for me. For those who have, I welcome your vote.
Separately, his spokesman, Caputo, accused Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, of being behind the leak.