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Culture > News

A West Virginia Official Lost Her Job After Calling Michelle Obama an ‘Ape in Heels’

Patricia Ramsey Taylor, formerly the director of a nonprofit in Clay, West Virginia funded with state and federal money, lost her job after referring to Michelle Obama as an “Ape in heels” in a Facebook post.

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

And she’s not the only one who’s in trouble, The Washington Post reports. After she published the post, one of the commenters was Clay’s mayor, Beverly Whaling, who said, “Just made my day Pam.”

While both women eventually deleted their posts once they realized they were being spread, it was too late—screenshots had already been passed around social media.

Whaling apologized to the Post, saying her comment was not meant to be racist: “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! Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!”

Meanwhile, Taylor, who actually called the FLOTUS an “ape,” told a local news station that she thinks the response to her post constitutes “a hate crime against” her. She has been removed from her position following the post, according to her employer.

The comparison of black people to apes and monkeys has a long, incredibly racist history, so Taylor and Whaling’s assertion that they never meant to be racist doesn’t make much sense. They are racist, plain and simple. And that shouldn’t be tolerated—not even in Donald Trump’s America.

Katherine Mirani is the News Editor for Her Campus. She graduated from Northwestern University's journalism school in 2015. Before joining Her Campus full time, she worked on investigative stories for Medill Watchdog and the Scripps News Washington Bureau. When not obsessing over journalism, Katherine enjoys pasta, ridiculous action movies, #longreads, and her cockatiel, Oreo.