Women of Delaware County were divided Monday afternoon on MacDade Blvd. in Woodlyn. Those gathered inside Tour and Travel for a press conference expressed their disgust at Kevin Madden, Democratic candidate for County Council, and co-founder and CEO of NightOwl Technologies.
They derided his decision to include offensive comments and reviews about women on the smartphone app which connects users to nearby nightclubs, bars, lounges and strip clubs. Madden launched the app in 2012.
Some examples of user reviews were highlighted on a poster board that read: “watch out for the fat sweaty ones,” “gross women with C-section scars,” “grab a few singles and go feed the monkeys,” “make it rain. They only get to keep what sticks to them.”
“It is offensive that any candidate would think it is acceptable to help spread these types of remarks about women. These are not the types of values I’m looking for in an elected official, to expose my children. It is not okay for men to objectify women,” said Dalinda Carrero-Papi, who was a civil rights lawyer for the state attorney general’s office and is currently an human resources manager for Delcora, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is also a former Chester city controller.
“Treating women as inferior, treating women as objects are all things that give rise to verbal abuse. Unfortunately our society allows people to profit from this type of activity. It’s not what I’m looking for in an elected official,” said Kathy Piperno, a family law attorney with Raffaele & Puppio and former board member of the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County.
Delco Future held the press conference and there was no mention of any candidate besides Madden. Their website’s homepage says, “Your team for Delaware County” with a picture of Jack Whelan (candidate for judge), Dave White and John Perfetti (County Council candidates), Mary McFall Hopper (county sheriff), Robert Kane (county controller), and Beth Naughton-Beck (register-of-wills candidate). It is not obvious on the homepage whether the group is Democratic or Republican.
“I was shocked by the obvious failure of the Delaware County Democratic Party to vet a candidate they appointed to run – with no primary election – for County Council,” said Carrero-Papi. “I call on all women to join me in denouncing men who make these types of comments about women and executives like Kevin Madden who help spread this garbage and amplify it by broadcasting it to a wider audience.”
President Donald Trump made comments like “grabbing women by the p-y,” and has referred to women as, “a piece of ass,” “disgusting,” and a “bimbo.” He won the presidential election and with 42 percent of women voting for him.
“First off, I didn’t vote for Trump,” said Piperino. “Second, he (Madden) is profiting off this and concealing the fact that he has these apps. These are the comments from his customers. There is no difference.”
“The president’s comments were disgusting then and they are disgusting now,” said Carrero-Papi. “What is on this app, these comments are disgusting. I expect someone like Madden, if he is of good character, would not allow the comments to be on this app.”
A nearly equal sized group lined up outside and across the street. Some held signs calling out White and Trump while wearing pink hats.
“They are trying to say it’s demoralizing to women but its not,” said Ruth Ann Davison, of Folsom. “They put a such-and-such grabber in the White House and they are being hypocritical, saying Kevin doesn’t respect women. That is totally wrong. He is a good family man and we are happy to have him running for Council.”
Peggy Wilson, of Drexel Hill, held a sign that read, “Republican Policies Bad for Women. Nightlife Apps Not So Much.”
“Republican policies are so anti-women,” said Wilson. “In Delaware County, if you look at pay to play, it’s repressive toward women and minority owned small business owners. Contracts cost a lot more than they need to.”
On Monday, Madden and fellow County Council candidate Brian Zidek received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania’s PAC.
“The attacks on women’s access to reproductive care have reached a fever pitch. That’s why we need leaders like Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek. Kevin and Brian understand firsthand how incredibly important these vital services are to help women stay healthy and strong. Their commitment to preserve these rights is unquestionable,” said Sari Stevens, Planned Parenthood PAC’s executive director,.
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Zidek pointed out that Delaware County is the largest county in the United States that doesn’t have a public health department.
“The consistent refusal of Dave White and the Republicans to support investments in public health is shortsighted and dangerous and we are thankful that organizations like Planned Parenthood are standing up to provide preventive health services that otherwise would be difficult for many to obtain.
Making matters worse, Dave White, John Perfetti and the Delco Republicans support candidates on a local, state and national level that are offering sustained, unprecedented attacks on women’s reproductive rights, health and safety in Pennsylvania,” said Zidek.
“Women’s universal access to quality and comprehensive reproductive health services is constantly under threat, and we believe it is important for everyone to support these fundamental rights. The citizens of Delco throughout our 570,000 person county should have access to comprehensive preventative and reproductive health services but Dave White and the Republicans have ignored the need for a public health department. We stand with Planned Parenthood as they do this vital work and will do all we can to support their efforts when elected to County Council,” said Madden.