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Two West Virginia Officials Are Under Fire for Calling Michelle Obama an Ape

The Obama administration is in its final days, so the window for obscure public officials to hurl racist insults against the first family—a pastime that has delighted many over the years—is rapidly closing.

Monday, West Virginia’s WSAZ Channel 3 reported on two in Clay, West Virginia, who thought they’d be able to get in a few last digs from the privacy of Facebook. They were wrong:

Two Clay County women are under intense criticism after a Facebook post launched outrage on social media. Screenshots of the post have been shared thousands of times.

The post came from Pamela Taylor, a woman who works as the director at the Clay County Development Corporation in Clay, a non-profit organization that is funded by state and federal funds.

Following the results of the presidential election, Taylor posted the following on her Facebook page: "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."
Two West Virginia Officials Are Under Fire for Calling Michelle Obama an Ape
Beverly Whaling, the Mayor of Clay, responded to the post saying "Just made my day Pam."

At the time I am writing this post, 85,000 people have signed a petition for both Taylor and Whaling to lose their jobs in a town where only 491 people live. Taylor was actually sacked on Monday, but not before telling WSAZ that the backlash over the post and alleged threats she’s received constitute a “hate crime” against her and that she intends to sue those who have slandered her by sharing her words verbatim. Whaling, for her part, gave an apology through the Washington Post for things “getting out of hand”:

“My comment was not intended to be racist at all,” Whaling said in a statement 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!

Donald Trump earned more 77 percent of the vote in Clay last Tuesday. Osita Nwanevu is a Slate editorial assistant.

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