Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the second lady of Pennsylvania, was verbally assaulted by a woman who called her the N-word and told the wife of Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman that “no one wants you here,” The Washington Post reported.
On Sunday, Fetterman went to the grocery store to pick up some supplies, and as she waited in line, she says she was confronted by a woman who recognized her as “that [N-word] that Fetterman married.”
“You don’t belong here. No one wants you here. You don’t belong here,” the woman reportedly said.
She was able to pull out her cell phone and record video of parts of the encounter, which she then posted to Twitter. The video can be seen below, but it does contain language that may be disturbing to some viewers.
finally capture it after the crying winded down. This behavior and this hatred is taught. If you know her, if she is your neighbor or relative, please, please teach her love instead.
— Gisele Barreto Fetterman (@giselefetterman) October 11, 2020
Normally, Fetterman is accompanied by Pennsylvania State Troopers when she does her grocery shopping. However, in this particular case she was in a hurry and made the decision to make the trip to her neighborhood Aldi alone.
“The fact that she was so comfortable and bold to just do it to my face with an audience … that was really scary,” she said of the alleged assailant.
A bystander asked if she was OK, and accompanied her to her car. The second lady later called her security detail and provided them with the license plate of the alleged assailant’s car.
Though the woman called her a pejorative usually directed at African Americans, Fetterman is of Brazilian descent. Fetterman also noted that she has endured racially-motivated abuse before. Born in Rio de Janeiro, she and her family moved to the United States when she was seven-years-old. She spent the next decade as an undocumented immigrant before she eventually got her green card and began the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
“It was a really long time of really living in the shadows and being really scared of every knock at the door,” she said as she described the experience.
She added that she is grateful to have police protection, but that it’s a luxury that most women of color in Pennsylvania and particularly Black women, don’t have.
Fetterman has been receiving support from Pennsylvania politicians in the aftermath of the incident. In a tweet, U.S. Senator Bob Casey called for kindness.
“It’s on us to teach our children kindness, acceptance and inclusion, and condemn hate whenever and wherever we see it,” he wrote.