Though one might think that everyone in the world has gotten the memo that, if you’re in the public eye, take care with what you post on social media. An opinion that might be intended for just a small group of friends can easily spread far wider than was ever intended. Pamela Taylor, Clay County Development Corporation Director in West Virginia, has just learned this lesson for herself while taking down the mayor of her town at the same time.
Following Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 Presidential election, Taylor posted the following message on her Facebook account: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.” To make matters worse, the mayor of Clay, Beverly Whaling, replied, “Just made my day Pam.”
As word rapidly got out, an online petition, calling for Taylor’s removal from her position, quickly received tens of thousands of signatures. In a short span of time, the Clay County Development Corporation released a statement that Pamela Taylor had been relieved of her position as director, though it’s unclear if she still retains any position within the non-profit. Though Taylor did apologize for the post, she has also said that she feels like she herself is the victim of a hate crime, based on how she’s been subsequently treated.
For her part in this, Mayor Whaling chose to resign her position as well. In a statement to the Washington Post, the former mayor wrote, “My 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!”
Hoping to finally put this issue behind them, at the same meeting where the Clay City Council accepted the mayor’s resignation, Councilman Jason Hubbard stated, “I’d like to apologize to anyone who was offended and most certainly the First Lady. I’m sorry that this happened.”
“The Town Council would like to condemn the horrible and indecent post that is the center of the controversy. This post is an individual and isolated act. This kind of racial intolerance is not what this community is about.” Despite the presence of protestors in the packed hall, the actual meeting itself ran less than 10 minutes from beginning to end.