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Wilmington city councilman backpedals after sending questionable email allegedly calling a woman a derogatory word

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark is attempting to clarify his words which were found in an email he sent to a member of the ILM Airport Authority. The email appears to label a woman who spoke during a city council meeting ‘a real bitch.’

Following a story earlier this month about ILM leaders discussing the ongoing concerns of residents and the noise from military jets in the area, several people reached out to WECT to show their support for the jets, as well as to voice their concerns.

Carin Blumenthal told WECT she addressed city council at a meeting and sent a follow-up email to council members. It was in response to that email that Rivenbark forwarded it to Spurill Thompson, vice-chair of the ILM Airport Authority.

“FYI. We had her last night at council meeting. A real bitch!” the email reads.

Now, Rivenbark says that he did not mean for the email to be derogatory, instead, he meant to say he was calling the problem, not the woman, a bitch.

In a follow-up email that Rivenbark sent, he clarifies that he was not referring to the sender of the email.

“I meant to say a real bitch of a problem! I think the cure for folks like Ms. Bruchs is going to be a tough one,” the follow-up email stated.

Blumenthal says she does not accept that as an excuse and believes he was talking about her.

“Absolutely not, if he was saying the situation is a bitch he would have put that verb in the email, ‘the situation is a bitch.’ And the email, I hope I state it properly was, we had her last night, a real bitch, to me that is referring to me,” she said.

WECT asked Rivenbark if he had discussed the email with anyone following its delivery to which he said he had talked to Thompson.

“Spruill Thompson is on the Airport Commission and also works in my office. We had discussed the noise issue on several occasions previous to the meeting in question. When he got the first email, he asked me what I meant. I then saw what I had sent and sent the second one to him,” Rivenbark said.

However, that follow-up email appears to have been sent to himself, not to Thompson or any of the other council members. Rivenbark also told WECT he sent the follow-up just an hour later, however, the email was sent a full day later.

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