Ben Jealous responds to attack video

Posted at 11:01 AM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-09 18:38:46-04

With the elections less than a month away, we are sure to see an increase in political ads. Ben Jealous, democratic candidate for governor is calling foul on Governor Larry Hogan. 

Over the weekend, an online video was published, bringing attention to some misspoken words by Jealous.

Jealous had an explanation for his comments today. Jealous says, since a child he has been a stutterer. Jealous explains that when he gets stuck on a thought, it's like a "speed bump" in  his head and he has to come up with a word to get him past that "speed bump"

"The science is clear, word replacement is for dealing with a stutterer. It goes right most of the time but not all the time," said Jealous.

Jealous calls this bullying.

"Dude, not cool. You need to stop it, you crossed the line."

Hogan's Campaign Communications Director, Scott Sloofman, sent WMAR-2 News the following statement regarding the video, 

“Whether it was dropping the f-bomb to a reporter, saying he is running for governor of Virginia or promising to raise taxes, Mr. Jealous can’t simply disown his words every time he gets in trouble with voters.”

Answering a question if voters will know when he misspeaks again, he explained to Marylander's, "I think it's obvious."

"To mock me in a way that will inspire school children to mock other peoples kids, that's the point he has crossed the line. He needs to know where the line is, Sir, that's the line," said Jealous.

The campaign video in question can be watched below:


The Jealous campaign says he has been open about his lifelong struggle with stuttering, including how bullying can affect young people. He has also said on the campaign trail he hopes to be a role model for those with speech impediments. 

"I've overcome stigma and bullying about my stutter throughout my entire life, and I've tried my best to never let it get in the way of speaking up for positive change," said Jealous. "I'm not intimidated when Larry Hogan mocks me -- I've faced down bullies before -- but I want to set an example for kids struggling to find their voice that we can never give in to those who opt for negativity instead of hope. This campaign for governor should be about the achieving the very best for our state moving forward, not petty politics and negative attack videos."

The Jealous campaign also cited the National Stuttering Association in a release saying, "The severity of stuttering varies widely among individuals. It may also vary in the same individual from day to day and depending on the speaking situation...For some individuals, fatigue, stress, and time pressure can increase their tendency to stutter...Some who stutter will also try to avoid stuttering by pausing before words, substituting words...As a result, the person may create the false impression of being hesitant, uncertain, or confused."

And others are reacting to the video as well, including Cheryl Bost, President of the Maryland State Education Association.

"As a teacher, the last thing I would ever allow in my classroom is for any student to bully another for struggling with a speech disorder. So why would we tolerate it when the governor does it? It’s very sad that our political discourse has fallen this low. It’s just shameful that Larry Hogan would release a video mocking someone for stuttering and yet he can’t find the time to release an education plan to improve our schools."