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WASHINGTON (AFP) – A mayor from West Virginia has resigned amid a furor over a racist Facebook post that described First Lady Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels,” US media said.
Beverly Whaling, the mayor of the tiny town of Clay, had appeared to applaud the incendiary comment and stepped down Tuesday amid the ensuing firestorm, according to a town official, Joe Coleman.
Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey had reportedly posted after Donald Trump’s election: “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.”
Mayor Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.”
The comments were later deleted and both women’s Facebook pages were eventually taken offline, The Washington Post reported citing local media.
Ramsey was also reportedly fired.
Barack Obama’s eight years in office have been marred by racial slurs against the nation’s first African American president and his family.
Clay has a population of less than 500, according to the 2010 census, and is the seat of Clay County in West Virginia, part of the South where the legacy of slavery still runs deep.
The furor over the racist comment, and the mayor/’s seemingly agreeable response, prompted an online petition drive to have the two women ousted. The text on www.thepetitionsite.com gathered nearly 160,000 signatures from across the country.
Whaling had apologized in a statement to Monday to The Washington Post, writing: “My comment was not intended to be racist at all.”