Dunleavy administration invites toxic masculinity in, then out

 Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska (KTUU)
Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, Alaska (KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: Jan. 24, 2019 at 8:47 PM AKST
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Out before he's in: a foul-tongued politico poised to work in Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration declined his job offer late Thursday after a caustic trail of profanity-laden, racist, sexist and homophobic Facebook comments surfaced authored under his name.

"This is for the best," Dunleavy said in a succinct remark prepared by his press secretary, Matt Shuckerow.

Art Chance, a former Labor Relations Director for the State of Alaska who this week had planned to take a job in the Deptartment of Administration, did not return a call seeking comment. Nor did former Commissioner-appointee Jonathon Quick or the now-acting Commissioner Paula Vrana, Quick's Special Assistant until Thursday evening.

Screen grabs of the various comments began circulating Tuesday evening.

Earlier in the day Thursday, Shuckerow referred inquiries about Chance's hiring to Quick's department, giving distance to Dunleavy, who has made the safety of women and children a cornerstone issue. Comment threads under what appears to be Chance's Facebook profile show a pattern of sexualized comments about the wives and girlfriends as put-downs to individuals with whom he disagreed.

One, dated Dec. 13, 2018, reads, "If you decide to shoot your spouse in Alaska, don't miss and hit a moose out of season, out of area or out of spec; shooting the spouse probably won't cost nearly as much."

On Jan. 22, a post under the same profile announced "I've accepted an appointment in the Alaska Department of Administration. It is a policy formulation and implementation position subordinate to the Deputy Commissioner of the Department." A day before that, the profile posted "Going dark, friends" — a reference to withdrawing his presence on social media.

The Facebook profile, which features a man in a white ball cap, sunglasses and salmon-colored polo shirt boating on a sunny day, said it would be a lot of work for newly announced presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris to "screw her way into that job."

He remarked on how Yup'ik language has many words for snow, but none for modern work, and made comments about how Native Hawaiians had been "thoroughly assimilated" until there was money in being Native, likening them to Alaska Natives after the Alaska Native Settlement Claims Act.

In December, posting about getting back into the workforce, he wrote "I'm, struggling with finding suits for grown men not suits for skinny little queers."

In yet another post from 2016, a comment from the same Art Chance Facebook profile reads "I'll leave fart-sucking to lefty idiots like you. If I thought you had a decent looking girlfriend, I'd take her away and give her the best f***ing of her life. F*** off and die."

Questions about whether Dunleavy was aware of Mr. Chance's use and tone of language on social media prior to the hiring offer went unanswered. Shuckerow said only that it was a decision that had not come from the governor's office, and one that rested in the department for which Chance was slated to work.

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on personnel matters. However, given the seriousness of these posts, I will share that a thorough review is being conducted,” Shuckerow later said.

"Mr. Chance's comments about race, his comments about misogyny, these are really unacceptable in a state employee at any level, but especially at the highest levels. He's a policy person selected to serve in our administration, and I personally believe he's not qualified to do that based on those comments. They disqualify him," Senate Minority Leader, Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, said Thursday amid the unfolding controversy.