Former Mayor’s Election Night Gesture Sparks New But “Unsurprising” Controversy


Sarah Willson, Staff Writer

Just minutes into her fourth term, Mayor Erin Stewart hit her first roadblock — though it was one she’s experienced before.

A gleeful Stewart was beaming in front of hundreds, cheering about how her Republican party took back the city’s Common Council and defeated Democratic political rival Carlo Carlozzi Jr.

Moments later, Erin Stewart’s father Timothy Stewart, a former New Britain mayor who was up on stage alongside his daughter, put his hands in the air and flipped a gesture with both middle fingers pointed towards the ceiling.

The action was said to have been directed at Carlozzi, according to those in attendance.

Erin Stewart “kept laughing but tapped him on the arm” before Stewart said “Jesus,” dropped his hands and walked off stage, an audience member said.

Mayor Stewart and her father have not responded for comment.

The next day, Carlozzi — who said Stewart’s action wasn’t surprising — took to Facebook writing “You can always count on him to be a class act … pathetic, very pathetic.”

The photo captured of Stewart, that has since circulated Facebook, prompted a wave of criticism from city residents.

“And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” Yvette Marie Torres wrote in a comment  “She celebrated Carlozzi’s loss and laughed when her father stepped up and gave him both fingers…smh.”

“Like father like daughter,” another post read. “She runs the city through him anyway so y’all shouldn’t be surprised.”

Central Connecticut student Gaby Bierwirth said she understood the excitement of getting caught up in his daughter’s success, though she felt it took away from what was supposed to be Erin Stewart’s big moment.

“It’s always disheartening when people who are supposed to represent cities act so childishly,” Bierwirth said. [Stewart is] putting her in the middle of it, which wasn’t helped by the fact that she tapped him on the arm but didn’t address the situation further.”

Users on Facebook acknowledged that Erin Stewart is not responsible for her father’s action, with some still citing she should have “further addressed” the issue.

This is not the first time the former mayor has found himself in hot water.

While president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce in 2017, he drew widespread with a Facebook post about North Oak street calling residents “inmates [who] continue to run the neighborhood.”

Earlier this year, Stewart also received backlash after posting a Facebook comment that described congresswomen at a State of the Union speech as “Bitches in heat.”

Erin Stewart condemned her father’s language saying she was “embarrassed” and “mortified.”

Despite not providing comment, Erin Stewart — who has fallen victim to sexist and hateful comments before — called on an end to social media insults from both sides at her inauguration earlier this week.