Georgia state Rep. Jason Spencer (R) has reportedly announced his resignation ― two days after the airing of a wild “Who Is America?” episode in which the lawmaker was seen exposing his buttocks and yelling a variety of racial epithets.
Spencer, who’d faced mounting pressure to resignfollowing the airing of the Showtime program, said he would vacate his seat on July 31, according to a letter submitted to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, reported CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ralston said in an earlier statement that Spencer had “disgraced himself and should resign immediately. Georgia is better than this.”
Spencer, however, initially refused to resign. He apologized for the “ridiculously ugly episode,” but defended himself by saying that Sacha Baron Cohen, the star and creator of “Who Is America?,” had taken “advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked.”
The lawmaker had been duped by Baron Cohen ― disguised for the series as an Israeli terrorism expert named Col. Erran Morad ― into believing that he was being filmed for an anti-terrorism training video meant for elected officials to learn how to protect themselves from terrorists.
“All you damn sand-n*****s over in the Middle East, we are tired of you coming to America and we are tired of you trying to threaten us,” Spencer said in a post-credits video titled, “A Message to Terrorists from Rep. Jason Spencer.”
Spencer, who brandished a knife in the clip, continued: “We will cut off your dick, you understand? We will take your dick and we will shove it in your mouth. How are you going to rape children and women without a dick?”
Elsewhere in the episode, Spencer mimicked an Asian accent and also pulled his pants down to, in Baron Cohen’s words, “use your buttocks to intimidate ISIS.”
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Spencer accused Showtime and Baron Cohen of exploiting “my state of mind for profit and notoriety.”
“This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected,” he told the paper.
On Monday, Baron Cohen, in character as Col. Morad, posted what he described as “unedited film” of Spencer’s appearance on his show. The footage will “reveal the truth,” he wrote in a tweet.
Spencer, who has a reputation for controversy, is serving his fourth ― and last ― term in the Georgia state House.
He lost the GOP primary in May to newcomer Steven Sainz but could have remained in his seat until January, which is when the new General Assembly will convene.
As the Journal-Constitution noted, Spencer had a financial incentive to want to remain in his seat. Had he lingered till January, he would have amassed an additional $7,000 in salary and, having logged eight years of service, would have become eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for life.
If Spencer had not resigned on his own volition, however, he could have faced political ramifications. Georgia Republican leaders were reportedly considering ways to reprimand him for his behavior.