CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia mayor who chimed in on a Facebook post likening Michelle Obama to an “ape in heels” has resigned from her job, multiple news outlets are reporting.
“I, Beverly Whaling, will be resigning as mayor of the town of Clay, effective immediately,” she stated in comments sent to news outlets.
Earlier, the Clay County Development Corp. director who drew national fire for her Facebook post likening the First Lady to an ape was removed from her job.
“Right, she is no longer our supervisor,” said the woman who answered the telephone at the development authority Tuesday morning.
The situation blew up when the director, Pamela Ramsey Taylor, drew heavy criticism for a Facebook post following Donald Trump’s election as president.
The post read: “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 Beverly Whaling responded with a comment: “Just made my day Pam.”
A regularly scheduled 5 p.m. Tuesday Clay council meeting was likely to include a discussion of the mayor’s role in the controversy, but that’s unclear now after the resignation.
Stories about the post have now gone out nationally via The Associated Press and through other outlets such as ABC News. The Associated Press version is under a label called “The Big Story.” A CBS News version of the story has more than 200 comments. The Washington Post also weighed in with a story.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 14, 2016
Although the original post has been removed from Taylor’s Facebook site, some people took screenshots before that.
Thousands of people registered with an online petition aimed at removing Taylor, registered as a Democrat, and Whaling, registered as an independent, from their jobs.
“Bigotry and racism should NEVER be tolerated, especially by people who are supposed to be representatives of our communities,” one person wrote on the online petition. “These two women should not be allowed to resign; instead they should both be fired immediately and without future pay. They are both equally guilty and despicable.”
People taking to Taylor to task for her post also have established a hashtag invoking her name on Twitter:
At one point, Taylor posted an apology on her Facebook page. Now the entire account has been deleted.
Whaling’s account also no longer appears. She issued an apology through WCHS-TV:
“I would like to apologize for any unintentional harm caused by my comment,” Whaling’s statement said. “My comment was not intended to be racist at all. I was referring to my day being made for the change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me, know that I am not in any way racist! Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!”