Lowell School Committee member Robert Hoey resigned Friday morning via a seven-minute Facebook Live video posted to his personal page, after facing citywide condemnation for his use of an antisemitic slur on a Wednesday morning local TV show. The producer of the show also resigned.
Standing between two boulders in front of the Pyne School in Lowell, or “a rock and a hard place” as he put it in his video, Hoey apologized to the target of his attack, a former employee Lowell Public Schools, without naming him, and “to everybody across the country, because this thing’s gone all over the place,” he said, referring to the spread of the news across media outlets.
He said that, even though he has heard “the ‘n’ word” spoken in front of him “a thousand times” throughout his life and within the prison where he worked, “nothing has ever hurt me as much as” his use of the anti-Semitic slur. He asked that his friends share the video and that none of them use any derogatory slurs again, adding that, at 66, he’s “worse than Archie Bunker,” a reference to the bigoted “All in the Family” character he compared himself to during the episode of “City Life” in which he used the slur.
He also apologized to School Committee members Mike Dillon and Hilary Clark, though he intentionally did not include the other four members of the committee. “Sorry about what I did, but not sorry about those four, I don’t even care,” he said toward the end of the video. He said he has been having “a tough time, not gonna lie to you” since the news broke about his use of the slur.
Through tears, he said his father, a gambler and a cab driver, never used that word, or any swear word or derogatory term in front of him or women, and said he would never use the word again himself. He added that he has “a big mouth” and “no control over how I talk or speak.”
“What you get is what you see,” he added and said he is ashamed of himself. He said he and his family “went through hell” the last few days, and he apologized to them for that, but said he’s “not sorry for what I’m fighting for,” though that statement was unclear. He added that he knows the city of Lowell needs change, and that “we’re gonna get it.”
As he announced his resignation toward the end of the video, he added, “Ooh, does that hurt,” and said he wants to advocate for teachers and students in Lowell. As the wind drowned out the audio at the end of the video, he asked viewers to “condemn that word,” referring to the anti-Semitic slur he used on “City Life.”
Phil Geoffrey, communications assistant in the City Manager’s Office, said he had not received any official resignation papers from Hoey.