Two American women — a mayor and local business leader — are under pressure to resign over a racist post about First Lady Michelle Obama that has sparked a social media row.
Clay County Development Corp director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Donald Trump’s election as president, saying: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.” The post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted.
The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling couldn’t be found Monday. A call to the Clay County Development Corp. went unanswered and Whaling didn’t immediately return a telephone message.
The petition titled ‘Terminate Clay County Mayor and County Development Corp Director For Calling Michelle Obama an “Ape in Heels”’, has had more than 33,000 online supporters so far.
The non-profit development group provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County. It is funded through state and federal grants and local fees.
Whaling has issued a statement to ABC 8 Eyewitness News about the incident.
She said: “I would like to apologize for any unintentional harm caused by my comment.”
“My comment was not intended to be racist at all. I was referring to my day being made for the change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me, know that I am not in any way racist! Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!”
Owens Brown, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s West Virginia chapter, is among those calling for the removal of both women.
“I feel so it’s unfortunate that people still have these racist undertones,” Brown said. “Unfortunately, this is a reality that we are dealing with in America today. There’s no place for these types of attitudes in our state.”
African-Americans make up about four per cent of West Virginia’s 1.8 million residents, according to the US Census.
About 77 per cent of Clay County residents supported Trump in the November 8 election. In 2012, President Barack Obama received 31 per cent of the county vote when Republican Mitt Romney easily carried the state.
The town council has a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday. Last week in Kentucky, Republican Dan Johnson defeated incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in Bullitt County despite a series of Facebook posts that depicted Barack Obama and his wife as monkeys.
Republican officials, including likely new House Speaker Jeff Hoover, had called on Johnson to drop out of the race. But Hoover declared last week that Johnson would be “welcome in our caucus.”
This article was originally published on news.com.au