The supervisor of a small city in upstate Dutchess County stated this week that he’s “completely not racist” for posting memes involving Harambe, the Cincinnati zoo gorilla shot after a toddler fell into his enclosure, on his Fb web page earlier than he was elected.
James Schmitt, the Pawling city supervisor, posted the pictures on his social media account on Could 31 and June 1, 2016, a yr earlier than he was elected on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence ballots, the Albany Occasions Union reported on Tuesday.
The memes remained on his Fb web page till this summer time after they disappeared, the newspaper reported.
In an interview with TU, Schmitt insisted that he was “completely not” racist, and expressed shock that “folks may have perceived this in a unfavorable gentle.”
The postings referred to Harambe who was fatally shot by a Cincinnati Zoo employee in Could 2016 after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, the Occasions Union stated.
The gorilla grabbed the boy and dragged him across the exhibit.
Following his demise, the 450-pound Harambe rapidly turned a meme, his picture appeared on a wide range of merchandise and his followers created a “Justice for Harambe” petition.
One of many pictures Schmitt posted confirmed a smiling white gorilla together with the phrases: “Fairly positive the white gorilla would simply have been tranquilized. Too quickly?”
The opposite featured a black gorilla with an toddler gorilla on its again.
“If I throw my child on stage at a live performance, will they shoot Kanye?” it stated.
That picture on Schmitt’s web page had 70 optimistic reactions.
Schmitt in a collection of texts on Tuesday with the newspaper stated he didn’t understand the memes can be seen negatively and famous that he hadn’t obtained any blowback following the postings.
He additionally stated none of his Republican colleagues raised considerations after his election.
“I’m proud to come back from a various household and neighborhood right here in Pawling. This shared publish was not meant to be obtained in a derogatory method in any respect,” he stated.
“Sadly, we reside in a society the place persons are actively trying to cancel people primarily based on variations in beliefs, slightly than working collectively to seek out widespread floor and options to issues. If anybody took offense to this publish, I really do apologize, however this seems to be politically motivated, slightly than searching for the folks of our neighborhood,” he continued.
A screenshot below one of many now-deleted posts reveals that an individual wrote that the picture was “straight up disgusting and racist.”
“How is that this racist?” Schmitt responded.
He stated he eliminated the posts “out of respect for our neighborhood.”
Jamie Piccone, the chairman of the Pawling Republican Celebration, stated he had “no concept” about Schmitt’s memes.
He informed the newspaper that he had heard any person “dug all that up” and described the scenario as “when folks go after somebody for their very own profit.”