Boston city councilor appears to not say the oath of office, is reportedly asked to do it again

Politics

District 7 Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson became a target for a far-right social media account after apparently staying silent during the oath of office.

Photo by Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The Boston City Council and their new president Ruthzee Louijeune are hoping to leave the chaos and controversy that has recently marred the body in 2023. However, one councilor is already drawing attention for a potential transgression that went viral on social media.

The Boston City Council, including four newly elected members, was inaugurated on Monday, with Mayor Michelle Wu leading them in the oath of office. However, a video shared on Wednesday by the Boston Accountability Network shows Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson not speaking during the entire recitation.

The video blew up after the popular far-right account Libs of TikTok reposted it on X, where it garnered more than 30,000 likes. The post claims Fernandes Anderson did not raise her hand or speak the oath.

Fernandes Anderson has been instructed to retake her oath due to the video, The Boston Herald reported. Both Louijeune and the city’s law department told the District 7 councilor to retake it, the paper said.

Fernandes Anderson took to X Thursday night to share a statement, labeling commentary on the “non incident” as “anti-immigrant racist vitriol.”

Fernandes Anderson was born in Cape Verde and moved to Roxbury at age 10; in their post with the inauguration video Libs of TikTok accused her of being “anti-white” and said the councilor “hates America.”

“So, let me get this straight: You’re okay with someone mindlessly mouthing an oath only to betray every promise they’ve ever made, but me internalizing my oath, committing a prayer between myself and God in honor of that very oath is a problem for you?” her statement said in part.

She also wrote in a reply that she signed the oath.

Recent controversies on the Boston City Council

After Louijeune was voted in as the new city council president, she emphasized a new beginning for the council that has been fraught with ethical issues, including Fernandes Anderson’s.

In July 2023, Fernandes Anderson admitted to ethical violations that involved hiring her sister and her son as paid employees of her staff. Fernandes Anderson agreed to pay a $5,000 fine.

Both of her family members received $70,000 salaries, according to a disposition. Both were no longer employed by August 2022. 

Two other councilors made headlines last year for their legal and ethical troubles, but both lost their seats in their respective preliminaries.

Ricardo Arroyo paid a $3,000 ethical violation fine for representing his brother in a sexual harassment lawsuit, and was accused himself of sexual assault and lying on his bar application. Kendra Lara faced a judge after she crashed a car into a home in Jamaica Plain while driving without a license.