CHICAGO — Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas’ Facebook page “liked” comments disparaging Chicago, including one calling the city “S—cago,” within the past year.
The Facebook page liked comments disparaging public education and encouraging Chicago Public Schools to be defunded — though Vallas was once the district’s CEO — as well as one that called Chicago a “hell hole” and criticized Democrats and local leaders.
The social media controversy was first reported late Thursday by the Tribune’s Greg Pratt, Alice Yin and Rick Pearson. Vallas’ account still “liked” the comments as of Friday morning.
A Vallas campaign spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment, though the campaign told the Tribune Vallas does not manage his campaign social media accounts and the “likes” should not have been made.
“He had nothing to do with these actions, but the campaign takes responsibility and has restricted access to the account,” the campaign told the Tribune. “These were offensive statements and should not have been liked by anyone.”
Vallas’ page “liked” a comment from July 3 — about a month after he announced his campaign — in which a person wrote, “Disgusting. I hope you win Paul. Chicago has become a total hell hole!”
Vallas’ page also replied to that comment, writing, “I need your help.”
And on June 6, just a few days after Vallas’ campaign announcement, his page liked a comment in which someone wrote, “Please Stop the Madness in this once great city Shitcago!”
The page also liked controversial comments about education, including one from Aug. 15 that said, “Shame on the ctu they don’t care about the kids lets get rid of all teachers and start from scratch.” In that same post, Vallas’ page also liked a comment in which a person wrote that “a parochial education is far superior to a public education.”
And in December 2021, the page liked a comment from a person who wrote, “Defund CPS.”
It’s not the first time Vallas’ social media presence has created controversy. The Tribune reported in February that his Twitter account had “liked” racist and offensive posts.
Vallas is headed to the April 4 runoff election after coming in first in a crowded mayoral field Feb. 28. He picked up about 33 percent of the vote, while the next-closest candidate, Brandon Johnson, had about 22 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
Vallas has faced criticism from some for being backed by the city’s largest police union, having ties to Republicans and being too conservative for Chicago, traditionally a more liberal, Democrat stronghold. He said he’s a “lifelong Democrat” and the “tough-on-crime” candidate, vowing to bring back droves of retired police officers to deal with Chicago’s violence.
RELATED: Brandon Johnson Goes On Offensive In 1st Runoff Debate, Blasts Paul Vallas Over Property Taxes, Republican Ties
Johnson has more progressive policies and has been backed by the CTU. He picked up an endorsement from progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a nationally known former presidential candidate, on Friday morning.
The two will face off during the April 4 election, which will decide Chicago’s next mayor.
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