STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

WL Mayor apologizes for 'unvaccinated a**holes' comment

West Lafayette's Mayor John Dennis' comments during the live-streamed briefing are creating outrage in the community.

Posted: Aug 5, 2021 4:20 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2021 6:19 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A comment made by West Lafayette's Mayor during a Wednesday afternoon press conference has some people seeing red.

Not only did he say it Wednesday, he said it at Monday night's city council meeting.

"I referenced them as 'unvaccinated a**holes', and unfortunately that sometimes is accurate," said Dennis during Wednesday's news briefing with the Tippecanoe County Health Department. "That's true."

Dennis' comments during the live-streamed briefing are creating outrage in the community.

"I think at the very least he owes the public an apology," Tippecanoe County resident Sarah Johnson. "I think resignation is not out of the question."

"To be so aggressive and so crass, it's just very poor leadership," said constituent Candace Bright.

The comment is concerning to Bright.

"To have the capacity to say that in public and not just immediately apologize just shows some hardness, some brittleness that I think is really disappointing," Bright said.

It's also upsetting to people who live outside the city.

"My concern is just the standard it sets for the bullying will carry over to the students and staff and teachers at the schools," said Johnson.

Dennis said that was never his intention.

"It was completely out of line," Dennis said. Completely disrespectful. Completely uncalled for."

Dennis said he's worried about going backwards in the pandemic, and the comment was fueled by concerns about the increase in COVID-19 cases locally.

It's something he said is frustrating when there are ways to control the spread.

"Self discipline will allow for us to be able to get this thing down to a manageable number or get rid of it completely, and all that is, is just getting a vaccination," he explained.

Dennis said the backlash is not going to stop him from encouraging people to get their shot.

"I'm sorry, but we need to make sure that we're all pulling on the same side of the rope when it comes to trying to get rid of this virus, whether it be through vaccinations or wearing the appropriate safety gear to make sure you don't transmit," said Dennis.

However, he doesn't blame anyone who was offended by his comment.

"Their outrage is in the right place," Dennis said. "What I did was wrong, and I accept responsibility for it, and it won't happen again. All I can hope is that at some point in time they find it in their heart to forgive me."

News 18 reached out to Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski for comment, but he respectfully declined an interview.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 60°
Kokomo
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 61°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 60°
Williamsport
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 60°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 61°
Frankfort
Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 61°
Delphi
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 60°
Monticello
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 60°
Logansport
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: °
More welcome rainfall ahead...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 934586

Reported Deaths: 15157
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1272871967
Lake629921090
Allen53252749
Hamilton43603446
St. Joseph41729586
Elkhart33340488
Vanderburgh30183442
Tippecanoe26738247
Johnson23466416
Hendricks22102340
Porter21573342
Clark17306227
Madison17213380
Vigo15991274
Monroe14404190
LaPorte14238237
Delaware13977219
Howard13772267
Kosciusko11310135
Hancock10749161
Warrick10616176
Bartholomew10461167
Floyd10375203
Wayne9848219
Grant9017200
Morgan8813159
Boone8351109
Dubois7647123
Henry7536129
Dearborn751787
Noble7369101
Marshall7314128
Cass7140117
Lawrence6913152
Shelby6526108
Jackson651884
Gibson6101106
Harrison601185
Huntington596192
Montgomery5756102
DeKalb568591
Knox5398104
Miami536684
Putnam532067
Clinton530965
Whitley520951
Steuben492867
Wabash480592
Jasper475561
Jefferson466291
Ripley451175
Adams441765
Daviess4105107
Scott400764
White388757
Clay387156
Greene385689
Decatur383496
Wells381683
Fayette371976
Posey358041
Jennings350356
Washington329747
LaGrange318775
Spencer315535
Fountain312354
Randolph309487
Sullivan304047
Owen282461
Starke276662
Orange274459
Fulton274253
Jay253034
Perry249352
Carroll242427
Franklin236737
Vermillion231450
Rush231330
Parke217720
Tipton208355
Pike204538
Blackford167434
Pulaski161751
Crawford144818
Newton142044
Benton141616
Brown133346
Martin127716
Switzerland124810
Warren114116
Union95511
Ohio78111
Unassigned0473

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events