A woman suspended after calling US First Lady Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” in a controversial Facebook post is set to return to work in West Virginia, according to a media report today.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who runs the Clay County Development Corp, a local non-profit group in Clay county, will resume work on December 23, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
The screen grab of the post had gone viral.
Local mayor Beverly Whaling resigned over the controversy, after she posted “Just made my day, Pam” to the comment.
The Gazette-Mail quoted a letter from the acting director of the non-profit group as saying Taylor would resume work at the Clay County Development Corp on December 23.
In her Facebook post, Taylor had said: “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.”
A petition calling for Taylor and Whaling, the mayor of the town of Clay, to be sacked collected more than 85,000 signatures.
The Clay County Development Corp. is Clay County’s second-largest employer, according to a recent study.
Clay town has a population of just 491 and has no African American residents, according to the 2010 census. More than 98 per cent of Clay County’s 9,000 residents are white.
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The state voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election, giving him 68.7 per cent of ballots cast.
The Clay County Development group, of which Taylor is the director, is partly funded through state and federal grants, and the group provides services to elderly and low-income residents.
The state commissioner, Robert Roswall, warned at the time that the agency risked losing funding over the issue.
The controversial Facebook post spread across US and international media outlets.
Whaling issued a written apology, saying that her comment was not intended 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 in any way racist!”
Clay’s town council issued a brief statement apologising to Michelle Obama and condemning the “horrific” post and said “racial intolerance isn’t what this community is about”.
Taylor told local news outlet WSAZ, which first carried the story, that she acknowledged her Facebook post could be “interpreted as racist, but in no way was intended to be”, and that she was expressing a personal opinion on attractiveness, not the colour of a person’s skin.
She told the news station she was considering legal action for slander against unnamed individuals.