In response to a report in The Chronicle of a sighting of Carl Paladino with a young woman at Towne Restaurant around 2:00 am last Saturday morning, the school board member has responded with vicious, defamatory lies about Matthew Ricchiazzi, one of Buffalo’s most innovative thought leaders and our publisher.
On Wednesday evening, The Chronicle released a photograph of a seemingly intoxicated Paladino, who was stumbling out of his BMW in front of Towne Restaurant, a busy night spot for late night drinkers looking to find an early breakfast. The Greek diner is a longtime cornerstone of Allentown’s nightlife, known ubiquitously to generations of Buffalonians.
In a city as small as ours, it’s understood by everyone that Towne — adorned with large windows along the busy streetscape, is a place where you expect to be seen by passers by, acquaintances, and friends.
It was a sighting that was both appropriate to report and worthy of reporting for a self-identified gubernatorial contender in 2018. In photographs it appeared that Paladino and the young lady were intoxicated, which if true, would constitute the serious crime of drunk driving on the part of an elected official.
In response, Paladino or an operative at his behest, took to a meme generator under the username Adam Michelini (the name of a former Rochester-area judge who was similarly defamed by the same user account). Paladino then used Mr. Ricchiazzi’s Facebook photographs to generate dozens of memes with outrageous falsehoods.
For the record: Matthew Ricchiazzi does not carry HIV. Nor does he have sex with poodles or children. He is not a rapist.
Matthew Ricchiazzi has the highest level of integrity and moral character. But that didn’t stop Paladino from from creating these slanderous memes and compiling them into a YouTube video to further disseminate his hate speech.
Then Paladino took to Twitter, where he created a page he described as a “transgender parody.”
Mr. Ricchiazzi is not transgender.
But Paladino’s hate speech is not without consequence, and does real damage to those he attacks. It does even more damage to society at large for propagating stigmas.
For years Paladino has spread slanderous rumors and lies about Matthew Ricchiazzi.
Let’s clear the record: Matthew Ricchiazzi is not an extortionist. He has never appeared in a college-themed pornography. He has never worked as a prostitute. He does not have sex with dogs. He is not a rapist. He does not have HIV and he is not transgender.
Paladino’s petulant, childish behavior and outlandish smear tactics have no place in our region’s politics. It amounts to defamation, harassment, cyberbullying, and hate speech all at once. It’s appalling that a person of his low caliber could be elected to the governing board of a major American school district.
His continued relevance in the public discourse is to our region’s deep discredit and great detriment. Truly no other individual in our City’s history has done more damage to our image in the national consciousness — with the sheer classlessness of his behavior.