Two West Virginia officials are facing a backlash after exchanging messages mocking Michelle Obama and referring to the first lady as “an ape in heels,” WSAZ reports.
According to the report, following the results of last Tuesday’s presidential election, Pamela Taylor—a director at the Clay County Development Corp., a nonprofit funded by state and federal funds—wrote, “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.”
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded to the post, quipping,”Just made my day Pam.”
A petition has been launched, calling for both women to be terminated. The petition has garnered 94,997 signatures as of Tuesday morning.
Both women have since apologized for their remarks, as only racists getting caught can—by insisting that the comments were not meant to be racist.
“My comment was not intended to be racist at all,” Whaling told the Washington Post in a statement. “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!
Taylor, according to WSAZ, has also apologized, but also flipped it around and said that she now believes that the situation has turned into a “hate crime against me.”
Taylor told the news station that she and her children have received death threats. She was also reportedly reprimanded at her job and is not quite certain whether or not she will be able to keep her position. The Post reports that a representative of the Clay County Development Corp. said that the board “removed” Taylor from her position, appointing Leslie McGlothin to take her place.
Taylor told the news station that she is working with an attorney to file a lawsuit against those who have slandered her.
According to the Post, a mere two-tenths of 1 percent of Clay County’s residents are African American. More than three-quarters of the votes cast in the county went to Donald Trump for the presidential election.