Schenectady County is investigating whether its part-time assistant affirmative action officer forwarded an email on his official account denouncing a movie about Jesus and his disciples being gay.
The reported film is in fact a hoax that has bounced around the Internet since 2000.
On Monday the county began investigating the email forwarded through the Rev. Emanuel Adams’ account after it was brought to the county’s attention by Angelicia Morris, executive director of the Schenectady County Human Rights Division.
“There was an anti-gay sentiment, so it was flagged,” she said.
The forwarded message about the supposed movie, “Corpus Christi,” decries “a disgusting film set to appear in America later this year [that] depicts Jesus and his disciples as homosexuals! ... Imagine what would happen if this film was depicting Muhammad in the same way ... The Islamic world would be in flames.” But reports of the film are in fact a hoax that has been on the Internet since 2000 and may have originated off the Web as far back as 1984, according to several websites.
Under county guidelines, employees are not to use official email accounts for personal use with the exception of short messages during, say, lunch hours. In the worst-case scenario, Adams would only be instructed to receive counseling, County Attorney Christopher H. Gardner said.
“We are doing our preliminary investigation,” he said. “You are not supposed to use [county email] for personal purposes.”
That said, Gardner added it is “not even clear ... that [Adams] forwarded it,” noting it was sent April 23 at a morning hour when Adams is not normally in his office. He said Adams said he has “no recollection of sending it.”
“He seemed genuinely puzzled by it,” Gardner said.
Phone and email messages left Thursday for Adams were not returned.
As members of the Human Rights Commission in 2008, Adams and Morris found themselves on opposite sides of a debate over billboards in the city that said “I am gay.” Adams wanted a strong HIV/AIDS message clearly stated, since that was the reason for the campaign.