A Virginia school board is calling for the resignation of one of its members after he emailed racist and inappropriate messages to his colleagues – emails which allegedly contained naked women and a reference to Michelle Obama.
Isle of Wright school board member Herb Degroft reportedly forwarded the controversial emails to other local leaders from his county email account. Isle of Wright Supervisor Byron Bailey, who was among the recipients of Degroft’s email chain, also sent the emails to others upon receiving them.
The Daily Press, which received the emails from an anonymous source, published a report outlining the content of the emails in question.
One of the photographs showed a group of topless tribal women dancing, with the caption: "Can you guess what this is?"
The punchline read: "You guessed right. Michelle Obama’s high school reunion."
A photo in a second email showed President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with surprised looks on their faces. The caption read "An embassy was bombed? … Muslims okay?"
Date and time stamps on the emails confirm that all four were originally sent from DeGroft to Bailey, who then sent them out to additional recipients.
Despite widespread support for his resignation, DeGroft attempted to downplay the nature of the emails in a recent interview.
"I don't think they were ever viewed as being racially charged, but everybody based on their life experiences has their own interpretation of things," DeGroft said. "I don't know who may have sent whatever to me that I may have forwarded to Mr. Bailey."
Degroft's current term as school board member ends in November. Bailey's term doesn't end until 2015.