Let’s face it.
Social media is not for the faint of heart.
It’s something Innes Coun. Jody Mitic learned that the hard way on the weekend.
Mitic was on the receiving end of some nasty comments on Facebook after he posted a picture with his girlfriend and former staffer Kelley Shields: “Troops! Meet my girl Kelley. She’s my best friend. #truelove #bestfriends”
Is it anyone’s business that our politicians have affairs, that they cheat on their spouse? Still wrestling about that. But when a politician takes to social media and makes the relationship public, well, that’s a different thing. The public is then free to write anything or everything. And they did, some offering their support to Mitic, wishing for his happiness; just as many had scathing comments for Mitic, accusing him of leaving the woman who had stood by his side and hurting her by going public. Note that Mitic has been busy deleting many of the posts. And Mitic’s ex Alannah Gilmore weighed in too, well…Facebook became a free for all.
What Mitic has never accepted is that as an elected official, the rules are different for him. He hates that, doesn’t seem to really understand it and doesn’t react well when it happens. When I tweeted that I was going to be writing about the Facebook controversy, Mitic didn’t take it well.
“What the f..k are you doing?” he asked me through a direct message.
To be fair, Mitic apologized twice afterward for his language.
Mucking about politicians’ personal lives generally isn’t something news journalists engage in. But when the private lives of politicians are made public by the politician themselves, the rules change. For sure, he’s free to write what he wants, so is the general public and so am I. And yes, lots will have their own opinions about all of us.
In an interview with On the City, From the Burbs, Mitic said he didn’t understand why posting a picture of himself and Kelley was anyone’s business. Well, clearly, Mitic put it on Facebook so he must presume it’s of some public interest.
According to Mitic, he and Gilmore separated in the fall of 2016.
Shields worked on his election campaign and then in his office. Mitic said the affair was discovered during the campaign and wasn’t ongoing when she came to work in his office. She was somehow later moved into the city bureaucracy after Gilmore protested to her husband about his former mistress working in his office. This is all according to Mitic, Gilmore did’t return may calls. Don’t blame her. Since yesterday, she has protected her tweets so they’re no longer accessible to the public.
How and why the city gave Shields a job in the city’s bureaucracy is a story I don’t quite understand. And Mitic’s explanation is troublesome. Surely our tax dollars shouldn’t be used to give someone a job because a city councillor had been having an affair with them.
Mitic seems to take some sort of joy in not abiding by the usual rules that most of us accept. And yes, there are plenty of people who admire him for that. I’m not one of them.
Mitic of course recently announced he wouldn’t be seeking a second term on council, having gone public with his battle with both depression and alcoholism. In making the announcement, he said he had to take care of himself and spend time with his family.
And for those of you who are Mitic admirers, feel free, as you always do, to point out that I’ll never in my life do anything for this country anywhere close to the magnitude of what Mitic has done. Fine. You’re right.
But for a city councillor, for a man with children, for a man whose ex-wife clearly has carried him through some terrible times and is still clearly hurting, really don’t understand the need to take to Facebook.
And yes, there are his children, who can access social media as easily as the rest of us.
Here are some of the tweets written by Gilmore.
“Hilarious, I’m asked to be discreet, but he makes it public. I guess he doesn’t want the truth to come out first. So many lies, cheating so much pain caused. But who cares as long as they are happy right.
“Keep pushing her in my face,” wrote Gilmore.
“I have never been so hurt and so lost in my life.”
Mitic said a lot of other things about the mother of his children, things I told him he shouldn’t be telling a reporter.
“I thought we were just talking,” he responded.
Yes, that’s what an interview is, I reminded him – along with assurances I wouldn’t write some of the more unsavoury things he’d said.
For the record, he also said some lovely things relating to her professional life.
Clearly, Mitic has struggled during his time as a city councillor. This won’t help.
“I have not ever denied I’m a f…k up,” Mitic told On the City, From the Burbs.
“I’m not rubbing anything in anyone’s face. I live my life and I try to let other people live theirs.
“Kelley and I are best friends, we’re madly in love and we’ll be just fine.”