Scott Jones has twice run as the Democratic Party nominee for the state House District 59 seat. You could surmise from the “I stand for the flag; I kneel at the cross” customization on a recent Facebook profile that his cultural attitudes are at least a couple clicks to the right of most of his fellow Democrats on cultural issues, but 18 words in a recent status update display an insensitivity about the school-to-prison pipeline, racial disparities and sexual assault that was too much for local party leaders.
Following a trigger warning for sexual assault and racism, the Guilford County Democratic Party posted a status update on Friday evening that denounced Jones’ post without mentioning him by name.
“It has come to our attention that someone running for state office as a Democrat recently posted a joke about prison rape on his personal Facebook page,” the statement reads. “It was an extremely distasteful thing to say, and the GCDP wants to make it very clear that while this person may identify as a Democrat, there is no place for anyone who makes light of such traumatic violence in our party.”
The post on Jones’ personal Facebook page, which appeared on Thursday, included an article share from a News & Record story about a black student at Southeast Guilford High School who is charged with felony assault for his role in a school fight. The post was accompanied by the comment: “I hope he gets a nice big boyfriend in jail and he gets a little something from behind.” The post was published on a setting so that only Jones’ Facebook friends could see it.
Responding to an inquiry from Triad City Beat, Jones wrote in a Facebook message: “Good afternoon, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have reset my password and security settings. It appears that someone has hacked my Facebook page and making comments on other peoples post along with my own [sic].”
Jones’ hacking claim is undercut by his response to a comment challenging his statement. Another Facebook user, Greg Woods, wrote, “Really? You want a minor to be raped in jail? Disgusting!” Woods said Jones replied, “I don’t believe that is what I said but if you want to assume or twist it that’s up to you.”
Early on Saturday, Jones suggested the controversy was a function of a dispute between him and local party officials, and hinted that he was the victim of an intra-party sabotage effort.
“I’ve recently questioned the Guilford County Democratic Party and the new officers and shared my concerns with officers of the state Democratic Party,” Jones said. “I will add that on October 5th an attempt was made by a page admin from my 2014 campaign whom attempted to delete my campaign page! A Democrat Mr. Woods screen-shot the post that was hacked and sent it to a local editor of a small paper in an attempt to stir trouble. He along with over 40 people have been deleted and blocked. I don’t have time waste on silly games.”
Jones challenged Republican Jon Hardister in the largely rural state House District 59 in 2014 and 2016, garnering 36.3 percent and 39.7 percent of the vote respectively. In his first foray into electoral politics, Jones challenged BJ Barnes in the 2010 Republican primary for Guilford County sheriff, before switching his voter registration to Democrat. His Facebook page currently includes the tag “candidate NC House,” suggesting that he plans to make another run for the state legislature in 2018.
Despite Jones’ disavowal to TCB, the Guilford County Dems’ denunciation suggests party leaders aren’t buying it.
“It also occurs to us that the object of this joke is a young black man who is legally considered a minor,” the Democratic Party statement reads. “As the progressive party, it is incumbent upon us to recognize and call out the racism inherent in this post. Black men — regardless of age — have been the target of state-sanctioned violence since the dawn of the country, and this ‘joke’ is a modern manifestation of that violence. The Democratic Party of Guilford County wants no part of it or anyone who would perpetuate it. To joke about rape anytime is disgusting, but we find it especially insensitive given the [Harvey] Weinstein Scandal and the #MeToo campaign that has received widespread media coverage. This Democrat should have known better, and we will do everything in our power as the local party leadership to hold our candidates to a higher standard.”