More than six weeks have passed since a West Virginia woman was suspended from her job for calling Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” on Facebook.
A lot can happen in six weeks. For example, every actor or musician you have ever loved has since died. But also, the woman who called the First Lady an ape was reinstated at her job—and then lost it again.
Pamela Taylor, the director of West Virginia nonprofit that provides services to the poor and elderly, first got into trouble with her election night Facebook post praising the style of Melania Trump and exulting in the imminent departure of Obama.
“It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House,” Taylor wrote. “I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.”
The Clay County Development Corp soon suspended Taylor from her position as director, while her friend, Clay, W.V., Mayor Beverly Whaley, replied that the post had “made my day.” Whaley announced that she would be resigning as mayor soon after and following public outcry.
Taylor released a statement at the time that she was not aware of the racist connotation of her comments and had no intention of being racist—just to insult the Obama’s appearance.
“My post, be it may interpreted as racist (though NO WAY INTENDED TO BE), was referring to my personal opinion of the attractiveness, NOT the color of one’s skin,” she wrote.
Someone at Taylor’s employer must have been convinced: The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported earlier this month that Taylor would be returning to her position starting Dec. 23. The reinstatement came in spite of a formal warning from the state that doing so could endanger their funding.
Sure enough, the state followed through on its threat. Reuters reported that Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s office intervened to have the Appalachian Area Agency on Aging take over the Clay County agency. As part of the agreement, Taylor is out for good this time.
Despite being a straightforward story of someone suffering consequences for saying something racist, it feels like we still haven’t heard the last of Pamela Taylor from West Virginia. The Democratic governor’s involvement in a red state means this could very well be an issue that comes up in future elections.