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Vice presidential candidate under fire for Facebook comments

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ASUM vice presidential candidate Ethan Holmes answers a question submitted by someone in the audience at the ASUM executive candidates debate on April 3. 

Editor's Note: A screenshot of the original comment made by Ethan Holmes on the Kaimin's Facebook post regarding the opinion piece, "If you’re not gay, get off our Tinder," was added for clarity. 

 University of Montana student Maggie Bornstein started an internet firestorm April 3 after posting screenshots of ASUM vice presidential candidate Ethan Holmes’ Facebook comments.

Holmes commented on a February Kaimin opinion piece titled, "If you’re not gay, get off our Tinder." Holmes’ original comment and Bornstein’s reposting of the comment received responses calling his words “transphobic” and “insensitive.”


“People keep asking for proof Ethan Holmes is transphobic. Here y’all go. Vote wisely!” Bornstein posted with the screenshots. Her post did not include the original Kaimin opinion piece for Holmes’ comment.

“I stand by the comments I wrote in response to the biphobic, tone-deaf, hypocritical Kaimin article. Of course, in hindsight, I would’ve written the comment with slightly less provocative language, but my sentiment remains unwavering,” Holmes stated in an email.

Bornstein’s post was the scene of fierce debate between those defending Holmes’ comment, arguing it was satire, and those arguing Holmes’ comment was transphobic. A few commenters on Bornstein’s post encouraged Holmes to commit suicide.

“I think that we all have a responsibility to engage in accountability of people seeking public office,” Bornstein stated in an email. “I am an incredibly privileged in the identities I hold and I would have felt guilty if I had not shared what I had found to be indicative of his lack of commitment to transgender and non-binary students.”

Hileman, Holmes' running mate, deleted aggressive comments about Holmes’ Facebook comments and comments encouraging suicide off of the duo’s campaign page, “Hileman-Holmes for ASUM President & Vice President 2019,” on Facebook.

“I always, and will always, support free speech, but not speech that encourages violence. But ultimately, it was just a security measure on my part,” Hileman stated in an email.

Since posting the screenshots on April 3, Bornstein has deleted many of the comments on her post, including multiple comments made by Holmes. Bornstein’s Facebook profile photo is the opposing ASUM executive candidates’ campaign logo, as of April 8.

Holmes is running for ASUM vice president alongside presidential candidate Dakota Hileman. The team’s platform includes putting gender-inclusive bathrooms in every building, merging the University’s parking management with ASUM Transportation and increasing sustainability on campus.

Hileman said he chose Holmes as his vice presidential running mate because he is well-rounded and has some ideological differences from himself.

“I believe that discourse is healthy so that students can have fluidity in their leadership and so we can solve problems for students,” Hileman said in an interview.

Students can vote April 17 and 18  in the ASUM election on the University of Montana App. The two presidential teams running for office are Dakota Hileman with Ethan Holmes and Abbigail Belcher with Ethan Hanley.

Editor’s Note: Many of the Facebook posts referenced in this article have been modified since their original postings. The Kaimin reporter and editors carefully reviewed screenshots of all comments both withstanding and deleted for the reporting of this piece. All comments on the Kaimin’s original Facebook post regarding the ‘If you’re not gay, get off our Tinder’ opinion piece have not been deleted or modified.