An official in Dudley, Massachusetts has apologized after calling a black CNN political commentator a ‘stupid porch monkey’ after watching a heated debate about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last Monday.
Highway Superintendent Daniel W. Gion, who has worked for the town for nearly forty years, has publicly apologized after calling 27-year-old black CNN political commentator Symone Sanders a: ‘Stupid porch monkey!!’
Gion posted the racial slur to CNN’s Facebook page after watching a political debate between former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Sanders, a video of which was posted to the page.
The debate between the politicians became heated after Sanders, who served as national press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, interrupted Cuccinelli several times, and he said: ‘Can I finish, Symone? Will you just shut up for a minute and let me finish?’They were discussing the events that occurred in Virginia last week where a white nationalist rally took place, resulting in the death of a thirty-two-year-old woman named Heather Heyer.
In the wake of Gion’s racist Facebook comment Town Administrator Greg L. Balukonis took action by putting Gion on paid leave until a selectmen’s meeting, which took place Monday.
He went on to tell NECN about the incident: ‘I think Dan got caught up in the heat of the moment, I think he got engaged in conversation emotion took over.’
‘And I know that he regrets that it happened,’ he said.
The Telegram & Gazette reports that Highway Superintendent Gion apologized at the selectmen’s meeting for what he called his ‘insensitive comment.’
A woman named Destiny Grardner posted images of Sanders and Gion’s discussion to the town’s Facebook page and suggested he be fired.
Grardner said: ‘Dan Gion thinks black people are porch monkeys and he is a supervisor employed here.’
During Monday’s meeting Gion said: ‘I never should have let my emotions get the best of me. Sitting in my home on a Monday night at 9.30pm the furthest thing from my mind was I was acting in the capacity of a town employee.’
His emotional plea didn’t end there as he said: ‘My apology is from the heart and totally sincere. I should have been more professional and thought of what I was saying before I posted it.’
‘We all make mistakes; we learn from them and move on to be a better person. That’s what I intend to do,’ he concluded.