‘Ape in Heels’: West Virginia mayor resigns after controversy over comments against Michelle Obama

A Facebook post written by a West Virginia county official and the Clay, West Virginia mayor’s response have created an uproar after they were perceived as being racist towards First Lady Michelle Obama. 150,000 people signed a petition calling for the mayor to resign, so she did.
Racist comments against Michelle Obama Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The mayor of Clay, West Virginia has resigned and another county official has left her position following a Facebook post that caused public outrage, which compared US First Lady Michelle Obama to “an ape in heels.” The county employee, Pamela Taylor, served as the Clay County Development Corporation director and wrote on her Facebook page following Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election: “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a (sic) Ape in heels.”

“Just made my day, Pam,” Mayor Beverly Whaling commented on the post. Whaling received much criticism regarding her comment. The post and comment were quickly deleted from Taylor’s Facebook page, but internet users were still able to locate the post and make it go viral.

A petition calling for the mayor’s resignation rapidly spread throughout the internet and received 150,000 signatures. Clay County Commissioner Greg Fitzwater confirmed Whaling’s resignation, but was unsure as to whether Taylor had been terminated or had resigned from her post following the incident. However, he did confirm that she was no longer working for the county.

 

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“My comment was not intended to be racist at all,” Whaling wrote in a statement that she sent to the Washington Post. “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!”


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