Assembly member flooded with threatening messages since controversy

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first_imgAmy Demboski surrounded by supporters after the 2015 mayoral election. (Photo: Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)It’s been a little over a week since an article posted to Facebook by Anchorage Assembly member Amy Demboski spilled into a controversy during a public meeting. In a written op-ed and over the air during the conservative talk-radio show she hosts, Demboski has denied she owes an apology to an Alaska resident implicated as being part of a militant Islamic group in materials she’s shared. Now she is receiving a swell of violent, and sometimes sexist threats.Listen NowDemboski is no stranger to controversy. But she’s been alarmed by the surge of messages directed at her.“Over the last week, the level of vitriol has absolutely intensified,” Demboski said in an interview earlier this week.The second-term Assembly member believes dealing with criticism and negative attention is part of holding public office, but says this has gone a step beyond normal critiques.She tried poking fun about the comments on a recent show.“It’s time for fan-mail Friday here on the Amy Demboski Show,” said her producer, reading aloud messages posted on Facebook. “Dearest Amy, you are a pathetic racist, take out your gun and put it in your mouth and blow your worthless brains out.”Demboski shared screen-grabs and texts of more explicit messages, some of which are overtly misogynistic. Most of those she’s received are from men.Since November,  Demboski has filed two police reports about harassing behavior and perceived threats to her safety — both of them prior to last week’s controversy. According to the Anchorage Police Department, because the messages lacked specific threats they’ll remain on file without any further action taken.All together, it has caused Demboski to modified her behavior and “altered some security measures,” but she is not letting the threatening messages take over her life.“I take them very seriously, especially when people are saying I should blow my brains out, and they’re saying they’re going to come to my house and burn flags,” Demboski said.Two other members of the Assembly, Patrick Flynn and Elvi Gray-Jackson, as well as senior members of the mayor’s administration, Chief of Staff Susanne Fleek-Green and Communications Director Myer Hutchinson, said this week that while they’ve gotten plenty of negative comments in the past, they’ve never received serious threats.According to Demboski, when conservative callers or commentors begin crossing lines online or over-the-air, she urges restraint, and would like to see folks on the other side of the political spectrum do the same thing.“Whether you’re a Republican, whether you’re a Democrat, or anywhere in between: when you can police people that think like you,” Demboski said, “I think it’s more effective.”Demboski believes the national political climate is playing a role in local events, with some messages referencing her support for president-elect Donald Trump.last_img

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