State official fired over racist, homophobic posts

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A top official in the Georgia Department of Education who joked about gays and poles and mocked Whoopi Goldberg for being transgender was forced to resign after his offensive social media posts went viral.

Jeremy Spencer, a political appointee of Superintendent Richard Woods, was paid $138,000 a year as the associate superintendent of virtual schools. On Monday, the AJC published a rundown of racist and homophobic posts from Spencer's personal Facebook page. The page quickly disappeared and the political fallout was just as quick. 

State Sen. Vincent Fort, a staunch LGBT ally, called for Spencer's firing from the Senate floor on Tuesday morning. Bryan Long, the gay executive director of the progressive group Better Georgia, also called for Spencer's ouster.

Via 11 Alive:

“He (Spencer) doesn’t think Georgia students can compete with students in other countries because we have non-white students here. That is a vile and racist thought and he should not be in charge of creating curriculum in Georgia,” said Better Georgia Executive Director Bryan Long.  “What’s important to know is this wasn’t one wrong post. This wasn’t one mistake. This was a toxic stream of racist posts and bigoted posts and anti-Muslim posts and anti-gay posts going back months.”

As Woods pushed Spencer out of his job, he said he was “disheartened and disgusted” by the posts. Via WABE:

“Like most people, I was disheartened and disgusted to see the posts made by Mr. Spencer on his Facebook page. These posts in no way reflect my opinions, or those of the Department of Education. As of this morning, Mr. Spencer is no longer an employee of the Department of Education. My job, and the job of all employees at the Department of Education, is to look out for the educational well-being of all of Georgia's 1.7 million students, and more than 100,000 teachers and educators.”

What landed Spencer in trouble? Reposting offensive content and failing to moderate comments from friends, including one that called for the lynching of President Obama. Via the AJC:

He also posted news about immigrants, gays and other groups, sometimes with laconic comments. In one, he wrote “subculture” beside a picture of two African American dance teams that got into a fight after a football game. Next to a photo of a tall pole wrapped in rainbow colors and standing in an ornate room that looks like the state Capitol, he wrote: “Gays and poles; now that just ain’t fittin.” In another, Spencer wrote that a comedian who said: “If you wipe your butt with your bare hand but consider bacon to be unclean, you may be a Muslim” was “…leveling the playing field to be inclusive and increase multicultural awareness.”

On Dec. 18, Spencer mocked the installation of a Gay Pride Festivus Pole in the State Capitol. A few weeks earlier, on Nov. 8, Spencer mocked Goldberg.


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