Virtual town hall event interrupted by racist slurs and imagery
A virtual town hall event to discuss the 2022 city budget was hacked by users who took over the meeting screen and flooded the comments with racist slurs and images.
The City of Windsor 2022 Budget Town Hall put on by the Windsor Law Centre for Cities in partnership with Activate Transit Windsor-Essex came to an abrupt halt Wednesday night after someone in the virtual meeting shared their screen and drew racist slurs for attendees to see and continued sharing offensive language in the comment section.
“I sincerely apologize that somebody harmed and ruined that space for folks in this way,” said one of the event speakers Kiemia Rezagian.
Once it was clear what was happening, organizers quickly tried to remove the person from the event.
“I would like the flow of this event to continue, however, I don’t like that our chat is populated with very hateful language and I’m sorry for everyone who had to witness that,” Rezagian said to the event-goers.
Unable to remove the individual, organizers closed the event and planned to restart.
The virtual town hall was put on to discuss the draft City of Windsor 2022 Budget for residents to hear from officials including CAO Jason Reynar who was set to provide an overview of the budget and answer any questions from the community.
Five city councillors as well as community leaders and members were on the call.
“It’s unfortunate that this is what happens sometimes when you try to be public and inclusive with events,” said Windsor Law Centre for Cities director Anneke Smit. “We’ll do our best to get restarted right away and thanks everyone for your understanding.”
The event was able to get back up and running around 8 p.m. after the disturbance.