Brooklyn Democratic Party Director Resigns Following Uproar Over ‘Pizzagate’ Posts
Andy Marte, not long ago registered as a Republican, faced flak over conspiracy tweets and past role defending a Dem party boss over sexual harassment allegations.
Andy Marte, a former registered Republican with an apparent penchant for tweeting about Pizzagate, is out as the director of Brooklyn Democratic Party.
In an email, a Brooklyn Democratic party spokesperson confirmed that Marte resigned last week, just a few months after party leaders announced his appointment to the administrative post.
The party declined to answer questions about what prompted his resignation, and Marte did not respond to requests for comment. His departure comes on the heels of a report by THE CITY probing his past GOP voter registration and pro-Trump tweets on an account featuring his name, photo and biography.
Those posts included a tweet showcasing an image of a van covered with messages about the far-right Pizzagate conspiracy theory, appearing to hail former President Donald Trump for “taking down Pedophile networks.”
Over the course of 2019, the same Twitter account also frequently retweeted GOP leaders’ and right-wing activists’ messages about deporting undocumented immigrants and Democrats’ supposed demonization of white people and police officers.
Shaquana Boykin, a district leader aligned with the New Kings Democrats, a dissident faction within the county Democratic organization, said she was “relieved” to know that the former Republican was no longer her party’s director.
“It shouldn’t have gotten to this,” said Boykin, who represents parts of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. “I thought our party had a vetting system, and it feels like that wasn’t even done.”
Kristina Naplatarski, another New Kings Democrats district leader representing Williamsburg and Greenpoint, said the controversy could have been avoided if Marte had not been quietly appointed by party leaders, a move which she said was reflective of its entrenched “machine” politics.
“The party did not put out an open call for that position,” she said. “It could have easily done that and tried to court a candidate who was qualified, who did not have these glaring moral issues.”
In a previous statement, the Brooklyn Democratic party tried to downplay Marte’s past GOP affiliation, arguing that he had merely changed his voter registration over “conflicts of interest” with the party’s local leadership, rather than due to differences in values.
Marte, now 32, got his start in Brooklyn politics working for the late party boss Vito Lopez. In 2013, Lopez resigned from the state Assembly after facing a raft of sexual harassment allegations, which included nonconsensual groping and kissing claims.
In the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against Lopez, Marte continued to stand by him.
Before Lopez’s resignation from the state Assembly, Marte co-authored a statement with a colleague in support of their boss, claiming that the environment in the Brooklyn leader’s office had “been portrayed in a perverse way,” depicting scenes that neither he nor his co-author “ever experienced or witnessed.” In 2013, Lopez resigned and launched a failed campaign for City Council. Despite the public allegations, Marte served as his campaign manager.
A subsequent state investigation substantiated many of the allegations and detailed many more.
One staffer told investigators that Lopez ordered her to learn how to “dress sexy” like a 14-year-old intern, who was also working in the office at the time. Another staffer reported that on a separate occasion Lopez asked a male college-aged intern if he would like to date the 14-year-old employee and inveighed against the existence of statutory rape laws.
In the years that followed, Marte worked at Riseboro, a non-profit formerly known as the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, which Lopez used to cement his political power before his fall from grace.
In 2020, during his own failed campaign for office, Marte gave an interview to a local Greenpoint focused blog and mentioned his time working for Lopez. The interview does not include any references to or condemnations of his former employer’s conduct.
Naplatarski said she was disappointed that Brooklyn’s Democratic Party leadership had supported someone who had gone “on the record, defending someone who was known to have done heinous acts against women.”
“It sends a message that the stories of the women who experienced what they experienced at the hands of Vito Lopez, that those stories just don’t matter,” she said.
Asked about critics’ claims that Marte’s hiring had sent a message effectively discounting the experiences of Lopez’ victims, George Arzt, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Democratic party, noted that the job he “briefly held” was a “clerical position.”