Today’s Unlikely Feud: HGTV’s Nicole Curtis And #PointerGate Mayor Betsy Hodges

Nicole Curtis
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Nicole Curtis is the host of the HGTV series Rehab Addict, on which she takes houses that probably deserve to be demolished and, through what can be described as miracles and magic, turns them into beautiful works of vintage art. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is best known for the time that her feud with the city’s police union resulted in possibly the dumbest local news segment of 2014, which the internet referred to as #PointerGate, as people accused her of flashing gang signs while she was working with volunteers. A fresh year means it’s time for a fresh political feud, so these two women are now taking each other to task on Facebook, just like adults do.

For those of you who don’t watch Rehab Addict (I’m an embarrassingly huge fan), Curtis has a tendency to get emotional over some of the run down homes that she encounters, to the point that she has, at least once, cried on camera when one was demolished before she could “save” it. A Minneapolis resident, Curtis obviously has deep ties to the older homes in her own community, so when a classic house known as “The Orth” was torn down last week, Curtis blasted the area’s city councilwoman, Lisa Bender, for letting this happen.

Yesterday, a back hoe took down a brilliant home in Minneapolis. My critics were waiting for me to chain myself to the porch and cry? No, this is one of those situations where you give someone enough rope-they eventually hang themselves. Our council member, Lisa Bender lied…the Orth died. You can hashtag that, quote it, put it on a t-shirt. The truth is we did everything possible and many high ranking officials in Minneapolis -okay all of them except for two council members Lisa Goodman and Blong Yang, turned a blind eye to the deceit and collaboration with the developer and owner.

Lisa Bender, congrats! You won-you proved yourself to be a destroyer of history and capable of talking out of both sides of your mouth, and then some. I’m sorry-did you want to know how I really feel;)) and demo is never green.

Curtis recorded some of the demolition of the Orth, and she pointed out that the city’s desire to be greener was hypocritical considering a house that had passed inspections was being torn down. But the damage had been done, and the hashtag slogan created, and because Curtis has more than 737,000 fans on Facebook, it was only a matter of time before the mean comments about Bender showed up, including this gem:

I would like to ‘bender’ over and send a wrecking ball thru her sorry hide.

That’s clever name-play, Lou. Needless to say, there were reportedly more and meaner comments on Curtis’ post, and a lot of them featured the B-word. Some even had *GASP* poop emoji. A local blog, The Wedge Times-Picayune, compiled all of the mean B-word comments to show us all how rabid the fans of an HGTV host can really be…

It’s hardly like it was an arsenal of B and C-words being hurled at Bender, but it was enough to get the mayor involved, as Hodges stepped in and defended the people making the tough choices in her city from such gutter language, as she called out Curtis for allowing her fans to act like unruly savages. Again, on Facebook.

This behavior is reprehensible. Nicole Curtis has fomented and abetted this behavior, and she has done *nothing* to either stop it or exhort her supporters to exhibit civility and decorum. Removing the post isn’t enough. Nicole Curtis should apologize to the residents of my city, the Minneapolis City Council, and Council Member Lisa Bender for Curtis’ own harmful bombast (not, I should be clear, for her opinions) and for not calling for her supporters to cease and desist their appalling, disgusting behavior. Buildings, architecture, and history all matter. People matter more, and this language and behavior debases the humanity both of the accuser and the accused. Nothing in the current situation justifies it, and nothing in the current situation excuses the silent witness of Nicole Curtis or her supporters to this behavior. Whatever you think about the policy issue, to support this kind of hateful response is unconscionable.

Curtis wasn’t done yet. No, sir. After she apologized for not being able to monitor everything that her fans write on her updates or wall, the host responded last night to Hodges’ call for an apology by not apologizing for anything… unless you count not being sorry.

7 years of dedication to the working on properties and in neighborhoods that elected officials had long given up on….and we get dealt backlash from the Mayor? I’m sorry Mayor Hodges, but you can take shots at me all day long-but, at the very least, salute the people that work alongside me and put their own time and energy in this city not because they are paid to, but because they are dedicated and believe. And last I checked it’s “our city” not yours. Something I taught my kids in little league years ago-there is no “I” in team. Thank you to all of you who have been my side in the Twin Cities-you have helped me save some of the most memorable and “historic” homes that are now known around the world. Take a bow Rehab addicts.

I almost feel like a fool for thinking that #PointerGate was the dumbest thing that Hodges would ever be involved in, but the mayor truly deserves credit for having a knack for getting her name in the news for the strangest feuds. Either way, I can only hope that this terrible debate will soon be settled on the new HGTV series What Happened to My House?, on which Hodges comes home from work to find Curtis dancing on a pile of rubble. Not because I want to see someone’s home destroyed, but because I’m tired of Flip or Flop reruns.