The wife of Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor said she was subject to a racist verbal attack at a grocery store on Sunday.
Gisele Barreto Fetterman, wife to Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, said the incident happened when she went to buy some kiwis near her home outside Pittsburgh.
“I ran to the local grocery store and was met by and verbally assaulted by this woman who repeatedly told me I do not belong here,” she wrote on Twitter.
Fetterman is a Brazilian immigrant who was formerly undocumented. In the short video she posted of part of the incident, an unidentified woman is seen pulling down her mask in a parking lot and calling Fetterman the n-word. Fetterman recorded the moment from inside her car, but said the attack began inside the store after the woman recognized her.
“She said, ‘There’s that n-word that Fetterman married. You don’t belong here. No one wants you here. You don’t belong here,’” Fetterman told The Washington Post. “The fact that she was so comfortable and bold to just do it to my face with an audience...that was really scary.”
“It was a really long time of really living in the shadows and being really scared of every knock at the door,” she said of her time as an undocumented immigrant. “To then being at a place where I’m so grateful that I can vote and that I get called for jury duty and I can finally belong to this country that I love so much — to then having these moments where I completely feel unwelcome all over again and scared."
On Twitter, Fetterman, whose husband was elected in 2018, said the incident was an example of the division in her state and throughout the country.
“This behavior and this hatred is taught. If you know her, if she is your neighbor or relative, please, please teach her love instead,” she wrote.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey tweeted his support for Fetterman, writing on Sunday evening that, “It’s on us to teach our children kindness, acceptance and inclusion, and condemn hate whenever and wherever we see it.”