Last week, after a story aired on CHCH News, Hamilton city councillor Sam Merulla attacked our reporter Diana Weeks on social media and in response, CHCH News is filing a complaint with the integrity commissioner.
Meanwhile, Merulla says he stands by his statements.
In response to a post by Diana Weeks Merulla tweeted “thanks to your incompetence and incomplete reporting, my daughter, wife, and assistant were threatened. You are a poor excuse for a reporter. Next time provide my comments rather than cut and paste “expletive”.
The story aired last week and discussed the heated debate during the council meeting Wednesday about the violence at Pride and yellow vest protests.
Joey Coleman, an independent journalist at City Hall shared that online comment and condemned Merulla’s response. Merulla fired back saying “I haven’t targeted you because you’re so irrelevant!” Joey then said “you shouldn’t be targeting anyone”
Merulla added, “for the record, if you target or anyone targets my family and employee, I will be targeting you.”
Councillor Merulla wasn’t available to speak on camera today but he did respond to some of our questions through an email saying it was after the CHCH story that he began receiving threats referencing the report. He told us that police are now providing security outside his house in response.
When it comes to the attack online, Mike Katrycz, the vice president of news at CHCH, is in the process of filing a formal complaint with the city’s integrity commissioner.
“He chose to publicly berate and bully one of our reporters which is completely unacceptable to us and also to the code of conduct that city councillors are supposed to abide by and apparently even Twitter.”
Some people online have shared this photo saying Twitter banned one of Merulla’s accounts due to “abusive behavior.”
The councillor told us that he voluntarily deactivated his accounts due to chronic harassment.
While some on social media responded to Merulla saying “you and your family should not be threatened.” Others jumped to the defense of Diana calling this “a disgusting attack by a sitting councillor”. And that any concerns should have been taken up with CHCH.
“We’re here to do a job. Our reporter was doing a job. If Sam Merulla had a problem with it he could have easily contacted me or anybody else at the station and we could have dealt with it then.” said Katrycz.
When asked why Merulla turned to social media he said “the damage she did was public and not private. Hence, I acted accordingly to ensure the safety of my family.”