“Not even in Walmart”: Tomahawk Mayor issues response to social media post backlash
Steven Taskay shared photo appearing to mock woman pumping gas
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
TOMAHAWK – After sharing a photo on his personal Facebook page that appeared to mock a woman pumping gas, Tomahawk Mayor Steven E. Taskay issued a response to the backlash received both online and at City Hall.
In the since-deleted post, Taskay shared a photo of a woman pumping gas who was wearing what appeared to be leopard-spotted sweatpants and a pink, purple and blue tie-dye shirt over a long-sleeved maroon shirt. The caption on the photo appeared to read, “Not even in Walmart.”
The Tomahawk Leader received what appeared to be numerous screenshots of the post, which drew criticism from some commenters. One comment read, “Well I don’t always match, and if I knew my picture was being used on (Facebook) to be made fun of, I’d be humiliated and hurt.”
“Well then it’s a good thing I can’t see her face,” Taskay responded.
When the commenter said that she voted for Taskay, followed by an emoji expressing exasperation, Taskay replied with, “Sorry your so sensitive.”
Taskay issued the following statement on his Mayor Steven Taskay Facebook page on Monday, March 9:
“To the Citizens of Tomahawk:
“I am currently on vacation in the state of Florida for my only daughter’s wedding. While traveling down here I shared a photo that came up in my Facebook feed; it reminded me of what I was seeing that made it apparent I wasn’t in Tomahawk anymore. The picture was just that, a picture. I said nothing derogatory; I just shared a picture. Once comments became inappropriate and brought to my attention, again I was traveling, I removed the post to stop the negativity.
“A resident of the city saw the picture, had issues with it, and did a screen shot. Instead of questioning me like neighbors do, she felt it best to share it in all circles with her own subjective view attached, making the post go viral.
“Now I am a big person, and I can take a little heat. However, people have been calling city hall and bullying the employees along with my place of employment, and making inappropriate threats, including ‘…the world would be better off without you…’. To me this makes no sense.
“Obviously, I do not condone bullying in any form. I do admit that I, like all of us in these new social media driven times, need to be more aware of how others may view things that we ourselves may not see as offensive because our realities are all subjective to our own lives and experiences. What some see as offensive, may not be that for others.
“Those who interpreted this as offensive have my sincerest apologies, but I ask that you please use this as an opportunity to think of your own attempts to be witty on Facebook and how it may be construed by others.
“Please do not continue what you may view as bullying behavior on my part, by responding with the same negative actions of which you feel me guilty of endorsing. Death threats and personal attacks against me or other city employees perpetuates the type of bullying behaviors which offended the original responder to my post.
“Again, I apologize to those who may have been offended by or who misunderstood my original attempt at Facebook absurdity.
“Due to the enormous amount of messages I am getting from around the United States, I am not going to respond to any more comments and I am turning the comments off on this response. My focus is now my daughter and her wedding and not what some people have chosen to turn my post into.
“To the voters of Tomahawk, I will be back in a week. You know how to reach me and my door is always open.
“This statement, in its entirety, has been forwarded to all local news media.
Taskay, currently serving his second term as Mayor, will run unopposed for his third term in April.