WILMINGTON, Del. — A Democratic lawmaker in Delaware has apologized for using a racist and sexist slur to refer to sex workers, saying he “dehumanized an entire culture.”
State Rep. Gerald Brady of Wilmington made the comments in a June 27 email he inadvertently sent to an advocate for decriminalizing prostitution.
The News Journal of Wilmington reported that the advocate had sent Brady a Princeton University study that suggested the presence of strip clubs led to a decrease in sex crimes in a New York City police precinct. The person connected the study to a 30-year period in Rhode Island during which indoor prostitution in massage parlors and strip clubs was decriminalized, and called on Delaware lawmakers to do something similar to protect sex workers.
The study sent to Brady did not directly mention Asian women in relation to sex work and strip clubs. It contained a single reference citation to a 2018 analysis of sex crimes and prostitution in South Korea in a publication called “Asian Development Perspectives.”
“Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free (sex acts) for Uncle Pervie there will be few rapes and few (a slur for Chinese women) will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington??” Brady replied from his official government email address.
The message was intended for a private citizen whom Brady knows, asking the person to read and summarize the study, according to Drew Volturo, spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus. Instead, Brady hit “reply” and emailed the original sender.
Delaware lawmakers have exempted their emails and the emails of legislative staff from Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act, but Brady’s email was shared with The News Journal.
“There is no excuse I can offer that explains my embarrassing and shameful words that insulted, stereotyped and dehumanized an entire culture while making light of a serious human rights crisis,” Brady wrote in a statement issued through a spokesman.
Brady, who is executive director of the Delaware AFL-CIO, has served in the state House since 2006, following a decade on the Wilmington city council. His legislative biography describes him as “soft-spoken but direct” and known for his “honesty, kindness, and willingness to work with and lead others.”