Calls to Fire Two West Viriginia Officials After Racist Comment About Michelle Obama

Two public officials in West Viriginia are under fire for calling Michelle Obama "an ape in heels."

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Two West Virginia officials are in a whole heap of trouble after their racist comments about Michelle Obama became public knowledge. Pamela Ramsey Taylor, the (now-former) director of the Clay County Development Corp., posted a message to Facebook after the election that read, "It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels." The mayor of Clay, Beverly Whaling, responded, "Just made my day Pam."

It didn't take long for people in Clay and beyond to notice what happened. Local media started reporting on it, and the story was soon grabbed by national papers like the Washington Post and the NY Daily News. A petition appeared online calling for both women to be fired. As of press time, it has over 70,000 signatures.

The Washington Post is reporting that Taylor has been "removed" from her position as director, though it is unclear if she has been fired. Mayor Whaling planned to address her comment in a previously-scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening. The mayor did tell the Post that her comment "was not intended to be racist at all. 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 of any way racist!"

Taylor claimed that she and her children have received death threats as a result of her comment and called the public backlash a "hate crime against me." (For the record, the FBI's definition of a hate crime is here, and nowhere does it include "people being mean to me because I said something racist.")

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