On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, I was lured to Twitter by a random notification that Louisville’s illustrious junior education reporter had Tweeted something we all needed to keep our eyes on. Turns out, it was about me, or so I thought.
The tweet read,
If you are running for JCPS school board and you have a publicly visible photo or video of yourself sitting in a bathtub, please consider removing it from any platform where it may be screenshot and sent to me at this time.— Olivia Krauth (@oliviakrauth) June 30, 2022
Aware that I had at least two examples of a “publicly visible photo” and one Tik Tok “video” containing “damning evidence” of the fact that I do indeed take baths, I immediately went to my Facebook and Tik Tok accounts and disabled the artifacts in question. Not that I’m ashamed of them, mind you, but because I didn’t know what else to do other than comply with Olivia’s threat.
Running for school board invites all kinds of crazy, including death threats from randos who question your morality for standing up for bodily autonomy, defending LGBTQIA+ rights and the teaching of accurate history and science. Of the four of us running for the District 3 Board seat in Jefferson County Kentucky, I am the only female, and I am by far the most outspoken on these issues. The last thing my family needs is for the media to gin up reasons for the zombies to come for me.
The tweet went on to say,
To specify, I'm fine with you fully clothed modeling a potential new bathtub for your home.— Olivia Krauth (@oliviakrauth) June 30, 2022
But if you are actively taking a bath, and have uploaded evidence to the internet … you have until EOD Friday until you make next week's newsletter.
Since my images didn’t quite meet Olivia’s prudish criteria of a “fully clothed model” showing off a “potential new bathtub,” I felt pressured into taking the images down or invite next-level hell after realizing her Tweet also included the threat of making “next week’s newsletter” if I didn’t comply by “EOD Friday.” In fact, since I didn’t not see her Tweet until an hour or so after she posted it, I knew “the enemy” was already scouring my timeline in search of this “damning and shameful evidence.”
What does what a local reporter is “fine with” even matter? Isn’t she supposed to report the news, not be judge, jury and executioner of a candidate’s campaign by tainting the candidate as some kind of immoral sleezy character? But isn’t that what her Tweet was intended to do? To shame the offender into taking it down? Whether the Tweet was directed at my opponent, Steve Ullum, who it turns out had one photo that I saw circulating, or me, who had two photos and a minute-long popular Tik Tok video, was unclear.
But, if the plan was to blackmail me into taking the video down, their scheme backfired. As word got out that it might have been me who “violated” Olivia’s code of ethics, support and curiosity started to roll in. A renewed interest in the video and disgust by those who saw the intrusion into private lives and body shaming as unacceptable turned their smear campaign upside down. As I acknowledged the content and reactivated the TikTok, I was suddenly notified by one of my informants that someone all-knowing had informed them that it wasn’t me she was Tweeting about after all. While I was relieved to learn this, something still didn’t add up. Support suddenly dried up, and in fact, I was accused of “manipulating” one of my informants into supporting me. But the most curious part was how they knew it supposedly wasn’t me.
At a minimum, this experience reminded me of the shenanigans that took place last spring, and the reasoning behind why they might have wanted that video taken down. Two of the candidates for whom the teachers’ union is trying to justify their continued endorsement and big spend, were implicated in that video. One of them condemns my opponent for caving under pressure by disruptive right wing radicals, which created an opening for a sinister bill like HB208 in the first place. Coincidence? Decide for yourself.
The story begins here.
On the morning of 3-4-21, I woke up to discover I had been thrown in Facebook jail for calling “Let Them Learn” parents “selfish white people” which is exactly what they are for trying to force people who are at high risk of death and long-term health effects back into crowded, dilapidated classrooms just so they can get THEIR children out of their hair while they are forced to work from home. Let Them Learn is one of several right wing radical groups that popped up recently to antagonize Black and Brown families, storm our school board meetings and cut in front of everyone, including some who’ve been waiting generations for their concerns to be addressed.
How is this hate speech? Because I pointed out that they are white? I’m white. White people hold the majority of decision-making seats in our country, and we have not experienced the generations of violence and discrimination that our Black, Brown, (not to mention LGBTQIA+ and women) friends, family and neighbors have. Facebook has really played a supporting role in the dismantling of our freedoms and I believe they should be sued, prosecuted, and punished, but we’ll get to that later. Any lawyers interested in taking on a class action suit against Facebook (or any of these clowns), please contact me.
Back to the story. Decide for yourself. Here’s a retweet of the first Tweet I made on March 4, 2021.
This is what got me thrown in FB jail on 3-4-21, so I came to Twitter to get my message out. 3-4-21 was also the day I learned how to Tik Tok. https://t.co/ZyXeYeqGHe— Gay Perry Adelmann for JCPS District 3 (@GayAdelmann) June 30, 2022
After Tweeting this and more events that were unfolding in Frankfort in real time, specifically calling out HB208’s sinister intentions, and a fun little sideshow I came across while “flipping channels” between the House and the Senate closed circuit TV programs. It was of another JCTA endorsed candidate
I took to TikTok and shared the “offensive” bathtub scene as part of the edutainment . Could it be that it’s not the shoulders-up, wet hair, version of me in a bathtub that offends their sensibilities, but the truth telling that I direct viewers to pay attention to on Twitter? On the video, I call out weak and racist actions by elected officials who were endorsed by JCTA’s PAC, one of whom is running for reelection to the seat Steve Ullum and I are challenging. Coincidence?
My belief is that this vague Tweet was part of a smear campaign intended to intimidate me into deleting my TikTok video. When it became clear to those conspiring on this scheme that I wasn’t going to let them shame me and scare me into deleting my video, they suddenly changed course and revealed to everyone that it was not me they were trying to expose after all, but Steve, who I mentioned above.
Pay no attention to the fact that the one photo of Steve in a bathtub that was circulating didn’t hold a candle to the photos and videos that had been on my timeline. So, either these “informants” are easily gaslit and will believe whatever lie JCTA’s dark money white supremacists conjure up, or they’re in on it. How else could they be sure it wasn’t me she was referring to? Something about this story doesn’t add up.
At the time, COVID was raging, but a radical right wing push was underway to force students back into classrooms so they could sit for standardized tests and provide privatizers with data to mine. Despite promises, lack of funding, dire circumstances in many buildings, we knew it was coming. Whether it was going to come in the form of HB208 out of Frankfort, or a preemptive motion made by board member James Craig to give Dr. Pollio the power to reopen in-person schooling, students and teachers were going back, regardless. Why? So they could take high stakes tests.
It was Deja Vu All Over Again
This wouldn’t be the last time Craig sided with rabid white parents demanding they be able to expose other people’s children to the dangers of COVID. In March of 2022, he advocated for JCPS to drop the mask mandate.
He once again succumbed to pressure from the loud, gun-toting, temper tantrum throwing few, instead of science, and definitely not considering our most vulnerable students, employees, and their families.
From WAVE3, regarding the March 8, 2022 Board Meeting:
Board member James Craig suggested the motion to match CDC and state health guidelines updated last week, categorizing prevention steps based on “low, medium, or high” numbers of cases and hospitalizations.
During the meeting, Board Member Kolb lays out a great argument why masks should remain required in public schools, starting around the 31-minute mark.
From the Courier Journal
The board voted 4-3 on a motion from member James Craig to let Superintendent Marty Pollio make masks optional for Kentucky’s largest school district, in accordance with state and federal guidance.
The “no” votes Tuesday came from board members Chris Kolb, Corrie Shull and Diane Porter, while Craig, Linda Duncan, Sarah Cole McIntosh and Joe Marshall voted in favor of the motion.
But I digress…
The March 2021 vote was a nail-biter, too. My theory is that Board Chair Porter had already committed her vote to someone, either Superintendent Marty Pollio or Board Member James Craig, that she would provide the “yes” vote if it was a tie. They already knew Craig, McIntosh and Duncan were going to vote “yes” because they all wanted to get reelected and their constituents are mostly either privileged or racist white people. A vote that puts minority, vulnerable populations ahead of their own doesn’t play well at election time. She knew there was a strong chance she was going to be a swing vote. When Marshall voted “yes” at the last possible moment, she was able to vote no and save her political capital for another day. If she was truly opposed to the motion, why didn’t she use her agency to influence others to join her in voting no? Especially since she pointed out that COVID impacts her district.
Here, on March 1, we even interviewed Joe Marshall, asking him to explain his rationale for casting the fourth and decisive “yes” vote. We shared our ongoing frustrations with him.
On March 3, 2021, I blogged about HB208 and the dark-money-back-room-dealers’ scheme and how it just backfired. The astroturf groups overplayed their hand, and then they showed their hand. Someone apparently doesn’t want you following these breadcrumbs. But in classic fashion, their scheme will once again backfire. Their meddling simply shined a spotlight on what we had put behind us,and we think the public will be interested to revisit them.
Will They Kill #HB208?
Lorrie A. Shepard: Testing Students This Spring Would Be a Mistake | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Here’s the transcript of the TikTok video originally Published on March 4, 2021
Today I woke up and was in Facebook jail.
Then, House Bill 208, the “force everybody back to school” bill thanks to the “Let Them Learn” privileged white parents passed our Kentucky General Assembly today.
So now, everyone has to go back to school so they can take standardized tests.
I had to take to Twitter and my fake Facebook account to get the message out.
And while I was doing that, a bill came into one of the House Committees from Jason Nemes that was racist.
So I live-Tweeted about that as well.
It was a good day to learn to be on Twitter.
And since I’m still in Facebook jail I guess I’ll learn how to TikTok.
Below are some more links to Tweets from that day:
It may be too late to stop #HB208 from forcing in-person instruction across KY, but that doesn't mean we are powerless to stop high-stakes testing. Demand KY legislators pass #HB579 #OptOut bill. Read today's blog post about both bills. #CancelTheTestshttps://t.co/7KvXSxaAEj— Save Our Schools KY (@SOS_KY) March 6, 2021
For those scrambling to understand #HB208, the #ForceThemBackToSchool bill, and who is behind what, here's a video from today's House vote. This bill is the love child of #LetThemLearn and #LetsMakeADeal and this video should clear things up. Or does it? https://t.co/Fx1RjwVmiq— Dear JCPS (@Dear_JCPS) March 4, 2021
I believe a crime was committed with this smear campaign. I believe it was an effort to intimidate me into deleting my TikTok video. I have filed complaints with the FBI and Courier Journal. I will make the contents of those complaints public in the near future.