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Attorney General Dana Nessel's St. Patrick's Day tweet raises eyebrows

Posted at 11:15 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 23:20:20-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Attorney General Dana Nessel has been getting some pushback over a recent tweet from the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Detroit's Corktown.

She tweeted a photo on her Twitter page showing herself taking a shot of whiskey, saying she didn’t know those in the photo, "But when you get offered a shot of whiskey during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Detroit, you take it!"

She soon deleted the photo but later re-tweeted a screenshot of it, adding:

"If you aren’t willing to have at least 1 shot of Jameson at the Detroit St. Patrick’s Day parade, you are:

1) Under age
2) Driving
3) A recovering alcoholic
4) Muslim or Mormon
4) Doing it totally wrong

Come at me, people.

For everyone else, Happy St. Patrick’s day!"

The tweet was made with her personal account, which uses the same profile picture as the official account, is verified and has over 100,000 followers.

“I thought that the comments were very hurtful,” said Deirdre Pitts, Ph.D., the associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion at Oakland University's School of Medicine. "What she did was place a microaggression in a tweet.”

Pitts said the way the tweet singles out specific groups of people was insensitive.

“If you think about a recovering alcoholic, under the ADA, those individuals are considered disabled and that’s a protected group. Religion is always a protected group, regardless of the religion,” Pitts said. "I'm sure it was unintentional, she just made an indirect slight against those individuals who are in those protected groups.”

Part of the backlash against the tweet also had to do with the attorney general’s recent history with social media including a post this fall admitting to being passed out drunk at the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game.

“She’s got to be careful because this is going to become an issue in the upcoming election,” local political commentator Adolph Mongo said.

Mongo says her posts about drinking could be used as a campaign advertisement this fall when Nessel is up for re-election.

“If someone is running against her, they’ve got a lot of ammunition," Mongo said. "They’re not going to talk about the real issues in this state, they’re going to talk about her issues.”

Responses to the tweet were somewhat mixed. Some took offense to it, but many others saw humor. One person commented saying, “I find it refreshing to find a public official with a good sense of humor.”

However, Pitts said although likely not intentional, it was still insulting.

“She needs to recognize what she put in the tweet was harmful and hurtful, and apologize immediately because the comments were offensive,” Pitts said.

Spokespeople for Dana Nessel's campaign and office declined comment.