GOP candidate for Congress hurls racial slurs at Brockton activist in text exchange

·3 min read

BROCKTON — A Congressional candidate called a well-known Brockton activist racial slurs in a private text exchange.

Ollie Spears and Hamilton Rodrigues are both men of color. Spears, a Democrat, shared with The Enterprise a long text thread between him and Rodrigues, a Republican aiming to unseat U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat representing the Eighth District.

Rodrigues messaged Spears about his campaign and asked if Spears was able to donate. After Spears asked if Rodrigues was a Trump Republican or Mitt Romney/Charlie Baker Republican, things went south quickly. The Enterprise is not repeating the slurs.

"Bro I don't lose my sleep with fake as house n****** like you," Rodrigues texts, continuing later, "Yes I said it. It's people like you the reason why our community does not go no where. Crabs in a bucket."

Rodrigues references a GOP critique that African American people who vote for Democrats are perpetuating their ancestors' bondage, referring to enslaved people who worked inside the homes of their enslavers as opposed to out in the fields.

"Get out of the plantation my friend," Rodrigues writes. "You are still a slave."

In this March 5, 2019, file photo, Hamilton Rodrigues, one of the new owners of Brockton's historic George's Cafe, poses for a photograph inside the Belmont Street restaurant.
In this March 5, 2019, file photo, Hamilton Rodrigues, one of the new owners of Brockton's historic George's Cafe, poses for a photograph inside the Belmont Street restaurant.

Spears also insults Rodrigues with a series of escalating profanities.

"Go f*** yourself," Spears writes.

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Rodrigues responds, "You see, I'm actually going to help my people advance when I win ... You are the type of N***** that will go vote on the other side just to keep me down."

Rodrigues owns George's, an iconic Brockton restaurant. He said it was "childish" for Spears to go public with the spat.

Brockton resident Ollie Spears, right, greets Brockton native Noube Rateau, left, as he premieres his "I Am You" documentary at Showcase Cinema de Lux at Patriot Place in Foxboro on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Brockton resident Ollie Spears, right, greets Brockton native Noube Rateau, left, as he premieres his "I Am You" documentary at Showcase Cinema de Lux at Patriot Place in Foxboro on Thursday, March 24, 2022.

"Basically, I'm focusing on my campaign," Rodrigues said in a Monday phone interview. "I'm going to make Brockton great again. It was a private exchange, and it's a violation of trust to even bring this to light. Quite frankly, this is all over with."

Rodrigues, who lives in Canton, is running to represent a congressional district that includes Brockton, Easton, East and West Bridgewater, Whitman, Abington and Stoughton, in addition to parts of Boston, suburbs southwest of Boston, Quincy and towns to Quincy's southeast.

Ray Alongi, a chef and former Marine, is also running for the district's GOP nomination. As of this writing, Politico considers the district as "solid Democratic." The primary is Sept. 6.

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In a Wednesday, May 4, interview at a Dunkin' on the South Side, Spears explained why he decided to go public.

"It just went from zero to 100 real quick. He disrespected me...talking about race," said Spears.

Spears, a real estate agent recognizable around town for his signature red glasses, said he will be supporting Lynch in the upcoming election.

"I just think him running for Congress and being a business owner of a diverse city, those type of views do not belong in Brockton," Spears said. "That type of hate does not belong in Brockton. and I would never support him, I'd never support his business, I'd never support anything with his name on it. He's dead to me."

Rodrigues, for his part, said he's moving on from the dispute.

"I'm on the ballot, I've got a lot of support," Rodrigues said. "I'm not going down to the gutter."

Send your news tips to reporter Chris Helms by email at CHelms@enterprisenews.com or connect on Twitter at @HelmsNews. Thank you, subscribers. You make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Brockton Enterprise.

This article originally appeared on The Enterprise: Brockton Ollie Spears: Candidate Hamilton Rodrigues used racial slurs