Giselle Barreto Fetterman, Pennsylvania’s Second Lady, Is Target of Racial Slur


Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the wife of Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, went to the grocery store on Sunday to pick up some golden kiwis.

It was a last-minute dash, so she headed to a local Aldi store without the state troopers who usually protect her. Three boxes of kiwis in hand, Ms. Fetterman was standing in line to pay when a woman stopped and stared at her.

“‘Oh, there is that N-word that Fetterman married,’” Ms. Fetterman recalled the woman saying to her, emphasizing in a phone interview on Monday that the woman used the racial slur without abbreviating it. Ms. Fetterman is the wife of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat.

Ms. Fetterman, who shared an account of the encounter in a tweet on Sunday night, said she froze. The woman kept repeating, “You don’t belong here” before walking away, she said.

Shaken, Ms. Fetterman paid for her produce and headed to her car. The woman reappeared, pulling down her purple mask and repeating the racial slur to Ms. Fetterman, who recorded the encounter and shared it with her followers on social media

Ms. Fetterman said in an interview on Monday that the Pennsylvania State Police had identified the woman in the video and were investigating.

The State Police confirmed that on Tuesday. “No charges have been filed at this time, however investigators have identified the woman depicted in the video shared by Ms. Fetterman,” Ryan Tarkowski, a spokesman for the agency, said in a statement. “The findings of the investigation will be forwarded to the Allegheny County District Attorney for review.”

A native of Brazil, Ms. Fetterman, 38, is a former undocumented immigrant who came with her mother and brother to New York City before she turned 8. She said she received her green card in 2004 and became a citizen in 2009.

She and Mr. Fetterman married in 2008 and have three children. They live in Braddock, Pa., a borough east of Pittsburgh where Mr. Fetterman was formerly the mayor.

Mr. Fetterman, who was once dubbed “the coolest mayor in America,’’ and “the mayor of Hell” has developed a cult following over the years. The shaven-headed 6-foot-8 politician has his town’s 15104 ZIP code tattooed on the inside of one arm. The other arm features the dates when people in the town died from “senseless violence” while he was mayor.

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Fetterman wore a homemade mask to urge residents to don masks.

Ms. Fetterman said the grocery store is about a two-minute drive from her home.

She said that she had been the target of hateful comments online and in emails, but that Sunday’s encounter was the first time she had been attacked in person.



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