Illinois government employee fired after posting antisemitic comments on social media

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An employee with the Illinois comptroller’s office has been fired after she posted vulgar antisemitic comments on social media during an exchange about the latest Israel-Hamas war.

A spokesperson for Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said in a statement Thursday that the employee was “immediately fired” after she admitted to some of the posts.

“Comptroller Mendoza has zero tolerance for anti-semitism or hate speech,” Mendoza spokesperson Abdon Pallasch said in the statement, which does not name the employee.

The vulgar comments were part of an Instagram exchange of insults with another user, who then publicly posted the exchange on their account, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Pallasch said in Thursday’s statement that the exchange was posted midday Thursday and also posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Social media postings identified the employee as Sarah Chowdhury, who worked as a legal counsel for the comptroller’s office.

Chowdhury, reached by phone Thursday by the Chicago Tribune, told the newspaper she was “extremely” sorry for the “inappropriate and reprehensible” comments and apologized to the person with whom she had the heated exchange, as well as anyone who read her comments.

Chowdhury said she was distraught over the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas and grew frustrated by the way the conflict was being covered by the media and discussed through social media platforms.

“I don’t know what came over me. I was in a state of panic,” Chowdhury said. “Antisemitism has no place anywhere.”

She said she has also resigned as head of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, which posted a statement saying its president, who is not named in the statement, was fired as soon as the group learned of her statements.

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