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A virtual town hall hosted by Connecticut's first Black congresswoman was interrupted by racist trolls

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Representative Jahana Hayes, a Democrat from Connecticut, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Efforts by Congress to limit the types of military equipment the Defense Department can transfer to law enforcement departments is unlikely to touch an even bigger source of advanced weapons accessible to civilian police. Photographer: Erin Scott/Bloomberg

Connecticut's first Black congresswoman said her virtual town hall this week was disrupted by Zoombombers, who posted messages in the chat such as "SHUT UP N****R, GO PICK YOUR COTTON" and "TRUMP 2020."

(CNN)Connecticut's first Black congresswoman said her virtual town hall this week was disrupted by Zoombombers, who posted messages in the chat such as "SHUT UP N****R, GO PICK YOUR COTTON" and "TRUMP 2020. "

Rep. Jahana Hayes, a Democrat up for reelection this November, said the incident happened on Monday during a virtual "listening session" with Newtown residents.

They were 10 minutes into the fourth meeting when someone said: "Shut up, N-word," according to Hayes, who published a piece about the incident on Medium.

Hayes' team then muted the person and removed them from the meeting.

But Hayes said it happened again, from a different participant, with the N-word on a loop set to music.

"This is repeated by two more people, clearly a coordinated effort," Hayes wrote in her essay.

The chat section was inundated with pro-Trump comments and racist rhetoric, including one repeated message that said "SHUT UP N****R GO PICK YOUR COTTON. "

Hayes posted photos of the harassment on Twitter, saying "This behavior is being normalized!

"We are deeply upset to hear about this and we take the privacy of Zoom Meetings very seriously," the company wrote in response to Hayes.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Zoom said the company "strongly condemns such hateful behavior. "

"Zoom is in communication with Representative Hayes' office regarding this matter.

"We are committed to maintaining an equal, respectful and inclusive online environment for all our users," the spokesperson said in an email to CNN, pointing to various measures the platform has made including updating a number of default settings and adding features "to help hosts more easily access in-meeting security controls. "

"We take meeting disruptions extremely seriously and where appropriate, we work closely with law enforcement authorities," the spokesperson said.

In her essay, Hayes detailed the mental impact of this kind of racist attack, writing that she is "not ok. "

Sullivan, Hayes' Republican challenger, called the incident "appalling. "

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