BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Officials at the Bloomsburg Fair held a news conference at the fairgrounds on Tuesday to address a controversial post that was made on Facebook over the weekend.
The post shows a person presumably dressed like Dr. Rachel Levine, the Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Health, in a dunk tank, with the words thanking her for helping raise money for local fire departments. The dunk tank was part of fundraising efforts.
“There was a dunk tank, a fellow dressed up in a dress to get people to throw balls at the tank to raise money then it went for this,” Randy Karschner, Bloomsburg Fair President said. “It turned into where people were thinking we were offending Dr. Rachel Levine that was not the intention at all. Especially the cross gender there was absolutely none of that at all. We apologize.”
Click on the video below to watch the full news conference.
The image has raised questions from many people including those in the transgender community. Beth Hartman, who is active in the LGBTQ community says she isn’t buying the explanation from Bloomsburg Fair officials.
“It sounds like they’re not sorry for what happened they are sorry they got caught because of social media,” Hartman told Eyewitness News.
Fair officials say they spoke about the matter with a representative of Dr. Levine Tuesday.
“According to the person we talked to at Dr. Levine’s office they were satisfied with that again, we apologized as a group, we apologized to them as a group, it’s understood,” Dave Wawroski, Superintendent of Grandstands at the Bloomsburg Fair said.
Dr. Rachel Levine did not respond to the controversy directly. She would only say she was staying focused on navigating Pennsylvania through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My only reaction is that I’m going to stay, no matter what happens, laser focused, on protecting the health of the people of Pennsylvania,” Levine said. “Our vision of the Pennsylvania Department of Health is a healthy Pennsylvania for all. And I’m going to do absolutely everything I can to achieve that, whether people agree with me or if they don’t agree with me. Their health is still important to me.”
Bloomsburg University also released a statement:
The Bloomsburg Fair hosted the Columbia-Montour County Firemen’s relief carnival to help companies raise money. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on fire companies fund raising efforts.