The director of a state and federal-funded nonprofit in West Virginia will return to work after she was temporarily removed from her job for calling first lady Michelle Obama an “ape in heels,” the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
Following Donald Trump’s presidential victory, Clay County Development Corp. Director Pamela Ramsey Taylor posted to Facebook, “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
Rather than condemn Taylor’s racist comment, Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling replied, “Just made my day Pam.” Whaling later stepped down from her post.
Meanwhile, Taylor deleted her comment and seemed to deactivate her Facebook account after gaining widespread attention. But screenshots of the post continued to circulate.
Taylor and Whaling apologized after the backlash. According to local news station WSAZ, Taylor said her comment “may be interpreted as racist but was in no way intended to be.”
Clay County Development Corp. removed Taylor from her position at the time, but announced on Saturday that she would be returning to her job on Dec. 23, according to a letter obtained by the Charleston Gazette-Mail from the organization’s acting director, Leslie McGlothin, to the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services.
“The state bureau’s commissioner, Robert Roswall, has warned the Clay agency that any discrimination from staff would jeopardize their state and federal funding,” the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported, adding that the organization, which provides services to the elderly, received $1.5 million in federal funding and $363,000 in state funding in 2014.
A petition calling for Taylor’s termination received over 196,000 signatures.