Councilman behind controversial email alert speaks out; Late-night TV host picks up story

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WASHINGTON, Pa. —

A local councilman behind a controversial email alert message is speaking out, while the story gains national attention.

Earlier this week, Washington Councilman Matt Staniszewski sent an email through a new transit system program that read, "Alert. This is a test. Bryan is gay."

Staniszewski said he was testing the program with a friend –- and thought the email was private.

"I recognize a mistake was made and we, as human beings, we all make errors in judgment," Staniszewski told Channel 11 News.

Thursday night, Jimmy Kimmel talked about the email on his show "Jimmy Kimmel LIVE," bringing more attention to a matter that area leaders said was already embarrassing enough.

"Now we're the laughing stock of the whole country," said school board member John Campbell.

The mayor of Washington said the email was "offensive and inappropriate" and she wants Staniszewski to make a public apology.

"He needs to apologize to the person who received the email as well as the citizens of Washington," Mayor Brenda Davis said.

But Staniszewski said he's done talking about the email.

"The mayor is politically grandstanding on this issue, causing this to be like the Jerry Springer Show," Staniszewski said.

"I don't feel it's being blown out of proportion. I believe it's being addressed and we need to deal with it and then we need to move on," Davis said.

Staniszewski said he was wrong, but never expected the remarks to spark such controversy.

"It's amazing the amount of attention this has received. We have other things to focus on," Staniszewski said.