Official in hot water after calling the First Lady an “ape”

Now, a petition is calling for both women to lose their jobs

(Credit: CNN)

(CNN) – In a viral world, with just a few clicks, words can last forever and they can reach far more than the intended audience.

Joe Murphy lives in Clay, West Virginia, a small town where word always travels quickly, especially on Facebook.

A message posted on Pamela Taylor’s account reads: ‘It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the white house. I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels.’

The mayor of Clay, Beverly Whaling, replied ‘just made my day Pam.’

Now this petition is calling for both women to lose their jobs. As of Sunday night, it has 1500 signatures. Taylor is the director at the Clay County Development Corporation, a non-profit funded by state and federal money. She says she’s been reprimanded and doesn’t know if she’ll keep her job.

She declined an on camera or audio-recorded interview, but said she was sorry for everything that’s happened. She says the aftermath of her post has become a hate crime against her.

Murphy said, “This is not the way I want my town portrayed, and Michelle Obama’s an articulate, beautiful woman and referring to her as an ape in heels, obviously is a racial slur.”

Murphy says both women should apologize or “if that’s how you feel, own it and accept the consequences.”

The words are hurtful to him because his granddaughter is black.

Murphy said, “She will be three in December, and she’s just the light of my life. Now how do I look you in the face and say are you talking about certain black people or are you talking about my granddaughter too?”

He says Clay County needs to condemn racism and anyone who condones it. Murphy noted, “Don’t let a couple people who get singled out actually represent West Virginia.”

Murphy added, “We reached out to the mayor numerous times on Sunday to try to get her side of the story. We still haven’t heard back but we will keep trying and we’ll keep you posted. Guys back to you.”