The executive director of a local Left Alliance party group has resigned after posting controversial and violent content on a private social media account. Western Finland chapter head Misha Dellinger announced his decision to quit on the party website on Friday morning. Dellinger’s resignation takes effect immediately.
"The furore that has arisen in the last few days has eroded confidence [in me], without which it is impossible to do the work of the executive director. Therefore I can do no more than to accept responsibility for the situation and step down from my post. I would like to thank those who have worked with me over the years and apologise for the disappointment I have caused," Dellinger said in the statement.
On Thursday, Yle reported that Dellinger had set up an anonymous Twitter account and used it to send tweets in which he called for fascists and climate change deniers to be killed.
Dellinger claimed that the account had been created before he took up a position with the Left Alliance and that he had not written the tweets in question.
On Thursday he took to Twitter to apologise for the uproar that arose over the tweets, but did not directly apologise for the tweets themselves. He said however that he condemned violence and the threat of violence.
Party chair: Party "lost confidence" in Dellinger
Meanwhile Left Alliance chair Li Andersson denounced the tweets on Friday morning and said that the party leadership was discussing the matter.
She told Yle that Dellinger drew his own conclusions about his situation and is now taking personal responsibility for the situation by resigning. Andersson said that Dellinger himself proposed stepping down and that the issue was eventually settled jointly with the party.
"Dellinger wanted to take responsibility for a situation in which he saw that it would be impossible for him to continue in his post with the party, and in which many party activists have lost confidence in him," she noted.
Andersson said that as a representative of Dellinger’s employer, she did not want to disclose details of the confidential discussions she had had with him. For example, she declined to comment on who might have sent threatening messages from the Twitter account that Dellinger had created. He has denied sending the messages himself.
"What’s problematic in this situation is that we have no way of verifying these claims one way or another. That’s why this is a matter of trust between employee and employer," Andersson explained.
According to the party chair, the Left Alliance requires all party members, employees and others involved in party activities to categorically commit to non-violence.
She said that in future the party would emphasise to employees and party activists that the party has a zero-tolerance stance on all forms of violence and the threat of violence.
"We will be reviewing with people employed by the party the kind of behaviour we expect in social media discussions or elsewhere in public," Andersson added.
Police probe Dellinger's Twitter account
Meanwhile the Southwestern Finland Police Department has begun a preliminary investigation into Dellinger’s Twitter account, according to detective chief inspector Jussi Helesvirta. A criminal complaint was filed about the matter on Thursday.
"The threshold for an investigation was crossed and the offence [under consideration] is ethnic agitation," Helesvirta noted.
Tabloid daily Ilta-Sanomat first reported on the criminal complaint. The case was referred to investigators by the preliminary crime processing unit on Friday.
"The case is still in its early stages and there is no information about a more specific schedule," Helesvirta concluded.