Published February 28, 2016
WINDOW ROCK — A series of photographs purportedly showing Navajo President Russell Begaye holding hands with a married woman from Tuba City, has created a lot of buzz on social media and in a weekly Phoenix newspaper.
Begaye addressed the controversy by putting up a statement on his Facebook page saying people have misconstrued what was happening in the photos but a few days later, that statement was deleted from his page.
And the woman who was shown in the photographs, Myra Begay-Draper, has fought back against those who have been calling her names, by filing a lawsuit in the Window Rock District Court against the blogger who has been generating much of the controversy.
Begay-Draper referred any questions about the photo controversy to her attorney, David Jordan, of Gallup.
Jordan called the journalism on this subject to be “shoddy and lurid.”
The only relationship she has with Begaye, he said, was professional.
The press has created this fiction, he said, that she was able to get approval for her father’s project in just 10 days when she has been working on it for years, even before Begaye took office.
He said that the stories on the social media have created a very intense backlash against her by people on Facebook and other forms of the social media.
“She has been called the president’s whore and other things,” Jordan said, adding that this has caused her a great deal of anguish.
The volume of the letters and name-calling has become so bad, he said, that she has filed suit in the Window Rock District Court against Dusty Lee for his blogs, for slander and defamation.
Begaye himself is married but this marriage itself has sparked a lot of social media interest because his wife, who is a dentist in Atlanta, was never seen with him on the campaign trial or at his inauguration last year or any events since then.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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