A blogger for conservative NC think tank The John Locke Foundation is being asked to explain why she illustrated a story on President Obama's position on North Carolina's proposed marriage amendment with an altered image of Obama in chains and high heels with a bucket of fried chicken.
On Monday, "Meck Deck" blogger Tara Servatius posted a story stating that the president took a public position against the amendment to boost his chances of winning North Carolina in November. Accompanying the story was an image of the president’s face Photoshopped onto an African-American man wearing high heels and chains. Between the man's legs is a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Update: Servatius has since resigned.
The story didn’t come to our attention till Wednesday evening, when liberal-leaning bloggers began tweeting links to it. Within an hour, the photo was removed from the story, though at the time of this post, it was still available on the think tank’s servers.
After initially posted a photo of the image along with this blogpost, WRAL News decided to remove the image because many people found it offensive.
The photo elicited a statement from state NAACP President Rev. William Barber:
"We at the NC NAACP have learned of the disgusting picture of our President on the John Locke Foundation blog and website. What we have seen so far has both racist and homophobic overtones, both of which are contrary to the fundamentals of our democracy. It's outrageous and it shows the kind of racialized, mean-spirited and divisive political attitudes that still exist in the South.
"On Thursday we will demand to know who authorized and developed such a racist and bigoted portrayal to be placed on the site of an organization that seeks to have so much influence into the shaping of public policy in NC. Whoever did it is completely over the line. It is reckless and dangerous. And should not only be an affront to the black community, the civil rights community, the LBGT community, but every North Carolinian."
John Locke Foundation President John Hood expressed regret on Facebook Wednesday night, saying he had had the photo removed from the site because it was "extremely inappropriate" and irrelevant to the content of the story. He also said he would find out how the photo got posted in the first place, and would take “appropriate action.”