A West Virginia non-profit group director was fired after she wrote a Facebook post referring to first lady Michelle Obama as an “ape in heels”.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor, executive director of the Clay County Development Corp, was removed following an agreement with the non-profit’s board of directors, governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s office said on Tuesday.
Taylor’s racist social media comments were not directly mentioned as the reason. She had been placed initially on a six-week leave that was scheduled to end last Friday.
However, the state requested “specific assurances” the non-profit is following anti-discrimination policies and has been assured Taylor is gone as director, Tomblin spokeswoman Jessica Tice said.
The Appalachian Area Agency on Aging will manage the non-profit daily for six months while the Clay County organization makes any changes needed for compliance as a state contractor, Tice said.
The non-profit provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County.
West Virginia’s Bureau of Senior Services and the Bureau for Medical Services have been reviewing the non-profit’s state contracts following the furore. The state also asked for guarantees that Taylor had not discriminated against recipients of state services.
Clay mayor Beverly Whaling was criticised for responding to Taylor’s post: “Just made my day Pam.” Whaling said later that she was referencing the change in the White House and wasn’t racist. She resigned following the backlash.