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'Ape in heels': US mayor quits over racist Michelle Obama comment

A West Virginia mayor has reportedly stood down after it appeared she praised a Facebook post that referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as an "ape in heels".

Beverly Whaling has resigned from her position as mayor of Clay, West Virginia on Tuesday after her encouraging comment on a racially-charged Facebook post from a local prominent business woman drew worldwide attention, reports WSAZ TV.

Pamela Ramsey Taylor, director of Clay County Development Corp, took to social media last week to express her pleasure at Donald Trump’s victory and Melania Trump’s impending succession to First Lady.

According to Charleston's WSAZ TV, Ramsey Taylor wrote: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels."

Instead of being disgusted by the post, the thread was commented on by Ms Whaling who wrote: "Just made my day Pam."

Image via The Petition Site.
Image via The Petition Site.

The post has since been deleted but not before it was screenshot and circulated thousands of times. It sparked a petition which was signed by more than 180,000 people who supported demands for both women to lose their jobs for their respective roles in the “hateful, racially motivated statement.”

The Charleston Gazette-Mail said Whaling handed in her resignation this week while Taylor is reported to have resigned from her position on Friday.

Before her resignation, in an earlier statement to The Washington Post the Whaling said she apologised for this "getting out of hand".

"My comment was not intended to be racist at all," said Ms Whaling.

She never apoligised to Mrs Obama directly.

According to New York Daily News “Every county of West Virginia went for Donald Trump in last week’s election, with more than 77% of Clay County supporting him.”

Councilman Jason Hubbard has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by Whaling. According to ABC news Mr Hubbard met with residents at a brief council meeting on Tuesday night was brief where he read a statement condemning the "horrible and indecent" post. He took the opportunity to offer to say that those words did not represent the wider Clay community and apologised on behalf of the town to Michelle Obama and anyone who was offended.

"Please don't judge the entire community for one or two individual acts," Hubbard said.

Another council member, Joyce Gibson said she was shocked by the behavior of Whaling and added that the community was now working try and get past the global embarrassment.

"She was a good mayor, I thought, and she knew how to get things done," Gibson said. "It's just a shame that this has happened. But, you know, there could be good things come out of it."

"Come see us," said Gibson. "Spend a day with us. If I knew you would come, I would bake a cake. We're very decent people."

FLOTUS has not addressed the issue. We can assume if she's caught wind of it she's taking her own advice:

“When they go low, we go high!”

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