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W. Virginia Officials’ Racist Post About Michelle Obama Sparks Intense Backlash, Results in Termination

Pamela Ramsey Taylor's racist Facebook post about First Lady Michelle Obama.

Pamela Ramsey Taylor’s racist Facebook post about First Lady Michelle Obama.

A West Virginia county official found herself out of a job Monday after she made racist remarks about First Lady Michelle Obama on Facebook.

Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor told ABC affiliate WCHS news she had been placed on leave following a racially insensitive post she published after Donald Trump’s stunning election as president. Taylor celebrated the win, stating she couldn’t wait for Melania Trump to replace Michelle Obama as the nation’s First Lady.

“It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House,” she wrote. “I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”

Beverly Whaling, the mayor of Clay, replied with an equally disgusting comment that read, “Just made my day Pam.”

The offensive posts, first reported by West Virginia’s WSAZ-TV, have since been deleted, but that didn’t stop the intense backlash and outrage from citizens calling for both Taylor and Whaling to be removed from their positions. In fact, a petition calling for the officials’ firing has already garnered over 100,000 signatures since its launch earlier this week.

According to CBS News, Taylor’s Facebook post was shared hundreds of times before it was removed from the social media site. The ladies’ Facebook accounts have also been deleted.

“I feel it’s so unfortunate that people still have these racist undertones,” said Owens Brown, director of the NAACP’s West Virginia chapter. “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 comprise roughly 4 percent of West Virginia’s 1.8 million residents, U.S. Census data shows. CBS News reports that a large majority — 77 percent, to be exact — voted in favor of Trump in the Nov. 8 election.

Both Taylor and Whaling have since apologized for the posts but haven’t admitted to any wrongdoing. The Clay mayor has repeatedly asserted that she is not a racist.

“My comment was not intended to be racist at all,” Whaling told The Washington Post. “I was referring to my day being made for a change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feelings this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!”

“Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!” she added.

Taylor reportedly issued a statement on Facebook but likened the public backlash to her post to a “hate crime against me,” according to WASZ. The former director also told the news station that she plans to sue those who slandered or libeled her online.

It should be noted that Taylor’s former workplace, Clay County Development Corp., is in no way affiliated with the city of Clay, a small town located near Charleston, West Virginia.  According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the company is a nonprofit organization funded by federal and state money to provide aid to elderly and low-income Clay County residents.

Clay Town Councilman Jason Hubbard said the controversy would be discussed at a town hall meeting scheduled for Tuesday night. According to The Washington Post, Leslie McGlothlin has been appointed to take Taylor’s place.

“While we respect Ms. Taylor’s right to free speech, we strongly oppose any form of racism or hate speech,” said Joe Murphy, vice chairman of the Clay Democratic Executive Committee. “We fully support our president and the first lady.”

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