Arizona Governor’s Press Secretary Out after Tweet Encouraging Violence against ‘Transphobes’
The press secretary of Katie Hobbs is out of a job after posting a controversial tweet that appears to encourage violence towards “transphobes.”
Josselyn Berry resigned overnight, the governor’s office confirmed to the local news outlet Arizona’s Family. Berry’s Monday post read “Us when we see transphobes” and showed a GIF of a woman toting two guns. Berry posted the tweet hours after a horrific attack on The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., which left three nine-year old children dead as well as three adults. The female shooter identified as transgender.
The tweet was immediately criticized within Arizona and outside of it. Twitter even removed the post, with a notice saying that Berry had violated the platform’s rules. Berry’s account is now on private.
“Calling for violence like this is un-American & never acceptable. [Josselyn Berry] should be fired immediately,” wrote the Arizona Freedom Caucus in a tweet, which also showed the original Berry post.
Less than 12 hours after the tragic shooting in Nashville by a deranged transgender activist @katiehobbs’ Press Secretary calls for shooting people Democrats disagree with.
Calling for violence like this is un-American & never acceptable.@joss_berry should be fired immediately pic.twitter.com/wYHHkmsNNE
— Arizona Freedom Caucus (@AZFreedomCaucus) March 29, 2023
In an earlier tweet in the same thread, Berry said “if you work in the progressive community and are transphobic, you’re not progressive. Period. End of Story. It’s not hard to understand but you’re [sic] bigotry masquerading as feminism absolutely is.”
Later on Wednesday, Hobbs’s office released a statement on Berry’s resignation.
“The Governor does not condone violence in any form. This administration holds mutual respect at the forefront of how we engage with one another. The post by the Press Secretary is not reflective of the values of the administration. The Governor has received and accepted the resignation of the Press Secretary,” the statement read.
The shooter in this instance was Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old former student at the Covenant School, which is Christian and Presbyterian in background. It is widely believed that Hale held animus towards the school. According to local police, Hale had thoroughly planned out the assault on the School with detailed maps and surveillance of the premises.
Initial reporting focused on the attack involving a female shooter, to a degree unique among school shootings, but it was later revealed Hale identified as a transgender man.
Several media outlets like NBC News have been criticized for linking legislation that sets guardrails for gender transition to the attack.