Society

Mayor Quits Over 'Ape in Heels' First Lady Comment

| by Denise Recalde

A West Virginia mayor has resigned after posting an approving message to a racist Facebook post about U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. 

Mayor Beverly Whaling's resignation was accepted Nov. 15 by the Clay Town Council, which subsequently said it would quickly move to name a replacement for the remaining three years of her term, Metro reports.

"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," wrote Clay County Development Corporation director Pamela Ramsey Taylor, soon after Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected President, The Daily Mail reports.

"Just made my day Pam," Whaling responded.

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Soon after the post went viral, the Town Council was flooded with calls and voicemails from angry callers, Town council member Joyce Gibson said. An online campaign calling for the resignation of Taylor and Whaling received tens of thousands of responses. 

Taylor was placed on leave as director of Clay County Development in response to her Facebook post. 

Council member Jason Hubbard released a statement denouncing the "horrible and indecent" post and noted that intolerance and racism "isn't what this community is about."

He issued an apology to Michelle Obama and anyone who was affronted by the Facebook post. 

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"This community is a helpful, hopeful, empathetic and God-loving community," Hubbard said. "Please don’t judge the entire community for one or two individual acts."

Gibson invited the offended to "come see us. Spend a day with us."

Whaling had earlier written an apology to the news media claiming her comment was not meant to be racist. 

"I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!"

The Facebook post was deleted but not before it spread virally on social media and the Internet. The Facebook pages of Taylor and Whaling were not to be found as of Nov. 14. 

According to the U.S. Census, African-Americans account for only about 4 percent of West Virginia's population of 1.8 million. 

Around 77 percent of the citizens of Clay County voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. In 2012, Republican Mitt Romney handedly won the state as Democrat Barack Obama received 31 percent of the county vote.

Sources: The Daily Mail, Metro / Photo credit: ABC News

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