As of Monday morning, 40-year-old Ryan Hudson, a former Marine turned firefighter living in Belding, Michigan, is without a job after his bosses caught wind of a racist Facebook message he posted to a black woman’s page after the two got into a tense conversation about Colin Kaepernick, race, and Donald Trump.
The events leading up to Hudson’s firing began last Thursday when Tarvenia (who has asked only to be identified by her first name) commented on a friend’s Facebook post about Donald Trump saying that John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he’d been a prisoner of war.
How, Tarvenia’s friend pondered, could Trump supporters spend so much time worrying about Colin Kaepernick’s protests while letting Trump’s statements about McCain go unchallenged?
“My oldest brother is a vet. He supports Kaepernick,” Tarvenia commented on her friend’s post. “That is all.”
Though it’s unclear whether Tarvenia and Hudson were Facebook friends at the time, 10 minutes after Tarvenia sent her comment, Hudson chimed in with his opinions on Kaepernick and Tarvenia’s brother.
“Your brother can pack up and leave this country,” Hudson wrote. “I don’t care if he is a vet or not. I am a vet and what [Karpernick] is try to represent is wrong.”
Tarvenia responded that her brother had no intentions of leaving the country any time soon and from there, the exchange only got more intense. Things came to a head when, after Tarvenia took to simply replying to Hudson with the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” Hudson decided to go full tilt racist.
“Fuck Black Lives Matter,” Hudson wrote. “You are the epitome of a nigger. All lives matter. And if you think it’s just black lives, kiss my ass bitch and go back to the fields that us in the north fought to free you from.”
She warned Hudson that she’d taken screenshots of the entire conversation before he could delete his comments and that she intended to show Hudson’s employers. Initially, Hudson denied that he’d written the posts (though they’d been deleted) before admitting what he’d done and explaining that he’d been drunk at the time.
“It’s very out of character for me,” Hudson told 24 Hour News 8. “I’m truly sorry from the bottom of my heart because it doesn’t reflect everybody. I served with black people. I was willing to die for them.”
Within days, the photos made their way into the hands of Belding Fire Chief Gregg Moor, who was shocked at Hudson’s behavior.
“It was some of the worst words I had ever seen in my life,” Moore told MLive, a Michigan news blog. “I knew immediately I had to do something. There is no excuse for anything like this. This is nothing we can stand for.”
According to Moore, the decision to terminate Hudson’s employment took only 10 minutes to make after a conversation with a firefighters’ union representative. When asked how she felt about Hudson’s apology, Tarvenia expressed her hope that he was being truly sincere.
“The idea is to correct it and really show remorse by how you live your life,” Tarvenia said. “That’s a true apology—what you’re teaching your children.”