The wife of Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor has alleged that she was subjected to racial and verbal attack and insults while grocery shopping on Sunday at a nearby store. Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the wife of Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, said the incident happened when she went to buy some kiwis at a supermarket near her home outside Pittsburgh.
Fetterman shot a part of the incident and later shared the video on Twitter, which has gone viral since then. However, the second lady of the state said that she was taken aback by this sudden attack by another shopper and has been left traumatized since then.
A shocked Fetterman posted about the incident on Twitter on Sunday. The two-second clip, which was shot by her, shows a white woman, who was also shopping at the same store, lowering her mask to say, "You're a n*****," into Fetterman's half-opened car window. The woman then walked away, leaving Fetterman shocked.
"I ran to the local grocery store and was met by and verbally assaulted by this woman who repeatedly told me I do not belong here," she wrote on Twitter. Fetterman is a Brazilian immigrant who was once undocumented. She said the attack began inside the store after the woman recognized her when she was standing in the queue to make payments for her purchases and continued till she was about to leave in her car.
"She called me a thief and said I don't belong here," said Fetterman. "She said, 'There's that 'N-word" Fetterman married.'" She wrote that the woman who had confronted her kept talking to her after she left the store, when she decided to film a part of the incident which has now gone viral.
Fretterman said that the way the woman approached her scared her. "The fact that she was so comfortable and bold to just do it to my face with an audience ... that was really scary. I was just kind of frozen in that moment," Fretterman told The Washington Post. "I was shaking. I was so nervous."
The woman featured in the video has not yet been identified, but Fretterman said that state troopers are now investigating. She said she called her usual trooper escort after the confrontation and sent a photo of the other woman's license plate.
Gisele was brought to the United States by her mother as a child. Although initially undocumented, she has since become a citizen. She is the co-founder of groups providing clothing and food to those in need. "Words really matter. I've had an entire career, I'm a citizen, I'm second lady, I've done all this work, and within seconds I was an 8-year-old little scared undocumented child again," she said.
Fetterman, whose husband was elected in 2018, said the incident was an example of the division in her state and throughout the country. However, Fetterman went to the store without her security detail of Pennsylvania state troopers, which she said she apologized for.
The incident took place at the Forest Hills Aldi location, the chain confirmed. In a statement, Aldi criticized the woman's actions and said she is "no longer welcome" to shop at its stores. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf condemned the incident on Monday in a statement, calling it "shameful and unacceptable" act of racial discrimination.