Hopkinton, MA
Hopkinton, US
11:36 am, Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Former HDTC chair Hayes issues apology for online controversy, takes ‘full responsibility’

by | Jun 12, 2023 | Featured: News, News

Former Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee chair Darlene Hayes on Monday released an apology for the controversy she caused with her online posting.

Under stories in the Hopkinton Independent and HopNews websites, Hayes had posted comments numerous times under various aliases leading up to the May 15 Annual Town Election, promoting Democratic candidates for School Committee while criticizing and raising concerns about independent candidate Ashley Fogg.

After Hayes’ actions were revealed last week by HopNews, she stepped down as HDTC chair, but she had not made any public statements and declined to comment when reached via text.

On Monday, she emailed a statement to the Independent. Below is that statement in full.

Dear Neighbors,

I am sorry. I immensely regret my online behavior, as well as the disappointment and mistrust it caused. I take full responsibility for what I did. It was thoughtless, unnecessary and inexcusable.

I care deeply about our community. My husband and I have lived in Hopkinton for nearly 30 years where we have raised our family in this wonderful town. I have been an active member in our community, supporting many local causes and organizations, and I also extend an apology to all these that I may have hurt with my actions.

Moving forward, I will strive to be a better neighbor and hope in time that you will be able to forgive me.


Darlene Hayes


  1. Amy Groves

    Thank you, Darlene. It can’t have been easy putting yourself out there but it was the right thing to do. I hope we can all go forward modeling our best behavior. At the end of the day, we are all still neighbors.

  2. Sandy Altamura

    hat happened during the last town election was a huge misstep . No one is denying this on any level. Darlene has stepped up and owned it and resigned from her position on the HDTC. Now, while we all sort this out in our minds I want you all to consider the tremendous contribution Darlene has made! She put enormous energy and time in both the HDTC and Hopkinton in general. Darlene went to every event she can possibly could. Supported all causes that helped Hopkinton and it’s residents. Sponsored and arraigned public events and benefits. Stepped up when no one else could or would. Beat the bushes to find qualified candidates to run for open seats. She held a lot of people’s hands when they went through tough times personally . She had more energy and empathy than almost anyone I knew! She made a mistake like all of us have, but I’ll certainly not throw rocks. Please take a good look back. Don’t condone a bad action but I think this committee should also have her back. Personally I think we owe this to her!

    • Nancy McBride

      Is this sarcasm?

    • Joshua Fournier

      Looks like Darlene is at it again! No sane person would suggest she be reinstated in any town board, commission or social media outlet.

    • Chris Swezey

      Sandy, this post is as offensive as Ms. Hayes election rigging. How much are you getting paid to submit this?

  3. Carolyn Hyman

    Amy Groves was so brave to instigate the investigation that uncovered Darlene’s malfeasance. For far too long she has done similar things to get her candidate elected, regardless of who she hurt. It’s high time that it stops in Hopkinton. I hope that the HDTC will move forward with a leader with unquestioned ethics. There is no other way for the Hopkinton voters.

  4. Marisa Jones

    A public apology to Ashley and the community was certainly owed and I appreciate Darlene making this statement. I am also deeply concerned by the actions of her friends and colleagues who have allowed Darlene to take this fall alone. We have seen the endless Facebook posts, received the private messages and scrolled the comments section witnessing more actors than just her during this miserable time – this organized and coordinated attack on a single candidate has been extremely difficult to watch. The problem was never anonymous posting; it was the attack on a single person’s character for political gain and the violent rhetoric that followed. I am very glad Darlene has a robust support system – she needs it.But she also needs her circle to help make the changes necessary to ensure we never experience a smear campaign like this one again. We need to obliterate the systemic issues that exist in our current town politics. This growth begins with everyone acknowledging that this situation was much more than a misuse of technology. If you believed the rumors or spread them around I would ask you to apologize to Ashley too. Darlene is taking the lead – follow her.

  5. Chris Swezey

    This is not an apology. This is a request to look beyond personal and intentional election rigging. I will not. Perhaps address your apology to those you impacted negatively the most, Ms. Hayes. Ms. Fogg is not even mentioned in the apology, yet she was slandered by twenty-four of your personalities. How about a sincere apology, not a politically safe one? Non-Democrats are also owed an apology for your attempt to rig politics against us. The terse apology above is everything but.
    Chris Swezey

  6. Peter Fogg

    Darlene, I’m glad you found the courage to apologize. But full responsibility? For exactly what do you take full responsibility? You have been doing this type of thing for years. People have left our town, and avoided running for public office. This is just the first time that you’ve been exposed. And I also don’t believe you that your actions were “thoughtless”. Having been on the receiving end, it would appear to me that a lot of thought went into your campaign against Ashley. Maybe “malicious” is a better word? So, again, thank you for apologizing, but I find it to be a bit toothless.

    Amy, I agree it probably wasn’t easy for Darlene to do this. The right thing rarely is. And I’m glad that Darlene has people around her to support her. It appears that Darlene has hurt many more than just my family, and as those voices come out, I want to say that I am all for the truth, but I do not condone anyone attacking Darlene as a person (eg, her mental health). As a public figure, as a bad actor? There needs to be accountability. But unlike Darlene’s comments to and about Ashley, we are not trying to run her out of town… Just out of public office of any kind. Also unlike Darlene, we have not said anything about Darlene except what is true and documented.

    Sandy, I don’t know you. But if I led an extensive online campaign of rumors and gossip painting you as a homophobe, racist bigot for several weeks, would you call that a “misstep”? And to your point, I have considered the contribution Darlene has made to our town: She has hurt many people, chilled civic engagement, slandered good people for political gain, and run people and businesses out of town. We now find ourselves in a position where we have a town who’s crown jewel is the schools, and we can’t even get people to run for school committee. We elected one person who just moved here, one person who already holds another town office, and we smeared and bulldozed the only other person who had the courage and commitment to run. That is Darlene’s legacy: Her own power and influence at the expense of the town of Hopkinton. Who can say how, when, or whether we will be able to recover from that?

    Darlene, again, I hope that you have support as you come face to face with the consequences of your actions. Change is hard. I hope people are kinder to you than you have been to them. And I hope you continue to volunteer and find healthy ways to invest in this town. But you are unworthy of any elected or appointed position in this town or anywhere else.

  7. Robin Malone

    This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened in Hopkinton and sadly it won’t be the last. There are many Darlene Hayes in this town – women who have taken a page from her playbook and get their way through intimidation and bullying. The culture of this town is like a scene from the movie “Mean Girls”. The only way this changes is if the residents of this town as a whole decide you don’t want that for your community or your families.

  8. Perry Turchi

    Schadenfreude. That’s all I have to say.