Highway super placed on leave for racist Facebook comment

A highway supervisor for Dudley, MA  is get some paid vacation leave time to contemplate his online behavior.  Last week, Daniel W. Gion was commenting on CNN’s Facebook page, in response to a story about a heated exchange between Charlottesville, Virginia, former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and political commentator Symone Sanders.  Gion got into his own heated argument with another commenter, where he introduced a racial slur into the exchange.  He referred to Sanders, an African American woman, as a “porch monkey”.

The person with whom Gion had this exchange, Destiny Gardener, took screenshots and posted them to the Facebook page for the Township for which Mr. Gion works, along with a call that he be fired.  Though he has not been fired, he did receive an official reprimand.

Gion implied that this issue has nothing to do with his job, as these comments were written on his own time.  However, he did acknowledge that “(i)t was a stupid thing to do.”

Unlike, Gion, Town Administrator Greg L. Balukonis was not so nonchalant in his reaction to this incident,  Instead, he offered the following response:

“This issue is not going to be swept under the carpet. There is no place in Dudley for racially inflammatory comments. I spoke with Dan and I told him how upsetting it was to see the words he used. This is not a reflection on the town of Dudley, its residents, or its public officials, who are decent and honorable individuals.”


An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.