Ottawa’s mayor is among those calling for another integrity commissioner probe into College Coun. Rick Chiarelli, this time to investigate recently surfaced direct messages sent from the councillor’s Twitter account.
Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement through his press secretary Friday that he’s asked the integrity commissioner to look into messages sent from Chiarelli’s public Twitter account to numerous women, many of whom on Thursday posted screenshots of suggestive messages they received from the councillor’s account in recent weeks.
Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney had previously said Thursday that they had sent the materials to the integrity commissioner, also calling for an investigation.
Ottawa’s new integrity commissioner, Karen Shepherd, told Global News she could not comment on the matter.
Among the content of the messages sent to Cassidy Kulhanek, a Chicago-based comedian, were discussions of a paid trip to Spain and questions about her comfort level with “topless sunbathing,” with suggestions the councillor could foot the bill and be reimbursed for the expenses.
Other women later posted screenshots of messages they received with similar content over the past few weeks.
Chiarelli’s office said that his account had been “breached,” and that the College Ward councillor, who has previously been the subject of sexual misconduct investigations by Ottawa’s integrity commissioner, was not the person sending those messages.
“We have reached out to the Twitter platform to determine the source of the unauthorized access to our account,” a spokesperson for Chiarelli said in an email to Global News on Thursday.
Global News reached out to Twitter Canada to ask whether it had received inquiries from Chiarelli’s office.
Spokesperson Cam Gordon said that while the platform often receives a variety of support requests for everything from a lost password to fears of beach, Twitter can’t comment on any cases related to a specific account for privacy reasons.
He also noted that the concept of an account being hacked is a general phrase that could refer to many degrees of invasiveness, from accidentally leaving open a third-party app with access to an account to a more direct attempt to breach security protocols.
On its website, Twitter lists a few flags that might alert a user that their account had been compromised, including receiving notifications from the platform about unusual behaviour or noticing messages or other interactions not sent by the primary user.