Robert Moulton quits North Adams posts over BLM, virus comments

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NORTH ADAMS — Robert Moulton Jr. has resigned from both the City Council and School Committee in the wake of remarks he made about Black Lives Matter and the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Thomas Bernard said that Moulton's decision on Monday to step down from the two groups was the right one.

“I appreciate the decision he made," he said. "I appreciate that it must not have been an easy one to make.”

Moulton did not return multiple requests for comment.

A School Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday that included a motion to censure Moulton has been canceled. A similar motion is also on the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The censures were drafted in response to comments Moulton made July 21 while speaking on his local television show, "Let's Talk About It." He called Black Lives Matter a "terrorist organization" that has "hijacked the term 'racism.'"

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He also asserted that the U.S. had made a "huge, huge mistake" by enacting a lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, adding that the worldwide death toll of the virus has been "minuscule" compared to the planet's population.

His comments were widely condemned by leaders in the North Adams community, including Bernard and members of the council and School Committee.

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The City Council censure was written by Council President Paul Hopkins, Council Vice President Jason LaForest, and Councilor Benjamin Lamb. In it, they called his comments “false,” “hateful” and “dangerous to public safety.”

“Councilor Moulton made repugnant personal statements minimizing the work of civil rights reflected in the Black Lives Matter movement,” they wrote. “[He] undermined evidence- and science-based guidelines and the Rule of Law in our city and commonwealth.”

Bernard said that Tuesday's City Council meeting had a “fairly robust agenda” beyond the censure resolution and would still take place.

Moulton served six terms on the City Council and was elected to the School Committee in 2019. The process for replacing him on the School Committee will involve a joint convention of that board and the City Council, Bernard said. The School Committee will take time to understand what that will look like before setting a date for the meeting, the mayor added.

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“One thing that's pretty obvious on both sides is we have a lot of work to do, and it's important that we have full membership to do that work,” he said.

According to a news release from the mayor's office, a discussion about that convention is on the agenda for an Aug. 4 School Committee meeting.

School Committee member Tara Jacobs had criticized Moulton for his opinions on the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter in a Facebook post on July 22.

“Recognition is the first step to bringing significant changes and true justice and equity,” she wrote.

Christopher Parker can be reached via email at cparker@berkshireeagle.com or via Twitter @cparkernews.


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