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October 12, 2020

Pennsylvania's second lady films woman's racist attack at Aldi parking lot

'This behavior and this hatred is taught,' Gisele Fetterman says of incident in Allegheny County

Investigations Harassment
Giselle Fetterman Store Gov. Tom Wolf's Press Office/Flickr

Gisele Fetterman, Pennsylvania's second lady, filmed a disturbing video of a woman calling her a racial slur in a grocery store parking lot. The incident is under investigation. Above, Fetterman speaks at a press conference in August.

Gisele Barreto Fetterman spoke out on Twitter on Sunday night after she was verbally harassed with racist language at a grocery store near Pittsburgh. 

Fetterman, the wife of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, shared a brief clip in which a woman directed a racist slur at her while she sat in her vehicle in an Aldi parking lot. Fetterman was born in Brazil and moved to New York City with her family when she was eight years old. 

In an interview with the Washington Post, Fetterman said the woman in the video began to verbally assault her as she stood in a check-out line in the Braddock, Allegheny County store. 

"She said, 'There's that n-word that Fetterman married. You don't belong here. No one wants you here. You don't belong here,'" Fetterman told the Post. 

The woman repeatedly directed the n-word at Fetterman until another customer offered to walk Fetterman out to her car, she said. The woman followed her there. Just as she was leaving, Fetterman took the video. 

Warning: The video included in the tweet below contains a racial slur. 

The Second Lady typically travels with a security detail, but decided to run an errand at the grocery store by herself. She reportedly sent her detail a picture of the woman's license plate. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the incident.

Fetterman, who was an undocumented immigrant, received her green card in 2004 and married John Fetterman in 2007, the same year he became mayor of Braddock. He was elected to his current position in 2018.

The incident comes less than a month before the presidential election. During his re-election campaign, President Donald Trump has played to racial tensions by initially failing to condemn white supremacists and claiming low-income people of color are "ruining" the suburbs

Pennsylvania is considered a potentially decisive battleground state.

In response to Sunday's incident, Sen. Bob Casey echoed Fetterman's message to teach kindness instead of hatred.

Gov. Wolf later tweeted a statement of his own. 

It's not yet clear whether the woman seen in the video, if identified, could face charges in the incident.