Callanan Denies Social Media Posts

by | Oct 18, 2020

Posts from a Facebook page created in 2012 and named for Senate Dist. 35 candidate Charles Callanan’s backyard bar, as well as other posts from Instagram and Twitter accounts he owns, are being circulated as examples of Callanan’s lack of respect for women. 

Callanan is running as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Bridget Valverde. On Friday, RI Democratic Women’s Caucus and other Democratic advocacy groups said the posts were “misogynistic, vulgar, homophobic, and, in some cases, appear to promote violence.”

In an interview, Callanan strongly denied being anti-woman. He explained the Facebook page was created after he and a friend built a bar in the backyard of Callanan’s East Greenwich home. During construction, he said, his friend fell from a ladder and broke his ankle, prompting the bar to be dubbed the Broken Ankle Bar. The page was created as a way to connect with friends around the country, he said.

Over the years, there were posts of gatherings at the bar but it became a place for other posts as well, including photos of well-endowed women in bikini tops and close up pictures of young women in short shorts. One post, shared by “Broken Ankle Bar” – i.e. someone with permission to post as the page – showed three pictures taken of a girl walking away from the camera in what looks like a park. She is wearing a short skirt. The comment accompanying the photo read: “Was invited to the Broken Ankle, because she does not wear underwear in public….. So sue us…..”

Callanan said he didn’t post the pictures of women and said the pictures were stock photos, not photos taken by page members. He said he had more involvement with the page early on but in recent years he wasn’t checking it as often and a number of people had posting rights. He took the page down in 2019 motivated both by what he said were inappropriate “Barstool Sports”-type posts and threats that started after he ran for EG Town Council in 2018. That unsuccessful campaign was Callanan’s first foray into public life and he brought an aggressive us-versus-them attitude to the race. 

When, during that campaign, Callanan used video from a candidates forum run by EGHS students in an attempt to tarnish another candidate, the videographer, Joe Morel, and the main student organizer asked him to remove the content saying that was not the intent of the video. Callanan refused. 

After the election, Callanan remained a vocal critic of the EG Town Council on a Twitter account under his own name. He also had an older Twitter account, created in 2011, called @KingpinRI that is now private. And he had an Instagram account with the KingpinRI name too. 

Morel said he decided to share some of the Broken Ankle Bar and KingpinRI posts earlier this month because he found the posts disturbing. 

“I respect him for his military service,” Morel said of Callanan Friday (Callanan served as an officer in the Navy). “But when I see something that’s so outrageous that personally affects me, I can’t let it go.”

For his part, Callanan said he is a victim. 

“I have been brutally attacked online,” he wrote on his campaign Facebook page. “In the U.S. Navy I served alongside men and women of all ethnicities and backgrounds. I trusted them with my life as they did me with theirs. I believed then as I do today that all of us are created equal and deserving of the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The claims that I am a misogynist are truly absurd.”

He said there are fake social media accounts now, including a Broken Ankle Bar page, that have been created to impugn him, that his family has been subject to social media attacks, that he has gotten hate mail at his home and negative reviews at his business. 

From the same post, Callanan wrote, “When I announced my candidacy I promised that I would not give into bullies and that is a promise I intend to keep.”

Morel said he only shared posts either made by Callanan himself or posted to social media accounts he owned. 

“If you don’t want to have your social media thrown in your face don’t post that stuff on the internet.”

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5 Comments

  1. Judi Zimmer

    Notice he doesn’t apologize or use the word ‘regret.’ Callanan portrays himself as a victim. That won’t work, Mr. Callanan–voters know better. Whether stock photos or not, whether he posted them or not, they are part of his social media. He allowed them to remain up, he didn’t delete them, he didn’t condemn them. Bottom line is that Mr. Callanan is unsuited for this position.

    Reply
  2. cARLA SWANSON

    Mr. Callanan – you admit you are KingpinRI on twitter. Why did you retweet this post: “Why are women like parking spaces? Because all the good ones are taken and all the ones left are handicapped” or this post: “do you know the difference between a bl#$ job and a ham sandwich? No? Good. Come over for lunch tomorrow” or use these hashtags: #hotchicks, #milf, #boatsandhoes? And let’s assume the wildly improbable is true – that you gave your password to others who posted lewd material to your FB place “Broken Ankle Bar,” posts sometimes made from your own house and yard – why did you not remove the offensive posts that use images of women as sexualized objects meant to amuse your BAB friends?

    My father was in the Navy and my brother is a US Marine. I am tired of Mr. Callanan reminding us every chance he gets about his military service, which he transparently uses like a prop, while in real life acting without honor or integrity. Mr. Callanan should tell the truth and own up to the things he finds appropriate and amusing. Instead, he issues a series of victim statements (which, if you follow them all, change from day to day) in a sad campaign of deflection and denial.

    Reply
  3. DB

    What Carla and Judi said!

    Reply
  4. JonathOn zucker

    Anyone with the slightest bit of tech knowledge knows that FB pages can become zoos of tangential posts and rants, especially group pages like the Ankle Bar. So anyone who’s posting hate against Callanan needs to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they’re displaying blatant bigotry against him?

    Reply
    • Carla Swanson

      Bigot? You mean like against misogynists? I’m not sure what about this is so confusing…

      1. Callanan admitted in a tweet that he is KingpinRI on twitter. Therefore, KingpinRI tweets and retweets (examples above) are his – he owns them.

      2. The lewd Broken Ankle Bar posts in question were posted by “Broken Ankle Bar.” These are not “tangential posts and rants.” “Anyone with the slightest bit of tech knowledge” knows that this is only possible if the page owner made the posts himself or gave his password out to others and allowed them to post under the name “Broken Ankle Bar.”

      3. Let’s say the latter happened – he gave his password out so others could post on the Facebook page created for the backyard bar that is mapped to his home address – then at the very least he let other men post pictures of women in thongs, pictures of young women in short skirts musing about whether or not they wear underwear – etc…and he left the posts up. Either way, he’s accountable.

      Reply

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