By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK
(NEW YORK DAILY NEWS) — A Virginia mayor has found himself in a sticky situation over a social media post in which he wrote that Joe Biden “just announced Aunt Jemima” as his running mate.
Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves posted the comment on Facebook over the weekend, after Biden revealed California Sen. Kamala Harris was his pick for vice president. The remarks, which were saved in a screenshot and then widely shared, immediately sparked backlash from the city council and residents alike before they were scrubbed from Presgraves’ profile page, WHSV reported.
Amid calls for his resignation, the 77-year-old mayor apologized during a city council meeting on Monday.
“I want to make this very clear to everyone with absolutely no qualifications. I understand what I posted on social media was wrong, offensive and unbecoming,” Presgraves said.
“I also want to make a direct apology to all people of color and women. Passing off demeaning and worn out racial stereotypes as humor isn’t funny. I now fully understand how hurtful it is and I can and will do better and we can all do better. We must.”
Luray is a town of less than 5,000 people, located about 90 miles west of Washington, D.C.
Quaker Oats in June revealed the Aunt Jemima name and image would be removed from all packages and marketing because they are “based on a racial stereotype.” The company, a subsidiary of PepsiCo and owner of the Aunt Jemima brand, faced ongoing criticism for its continued use of the character, a grinning black woman, to peddle its products despite the racist roots.
The new packaging, announced following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, is slated to hit shelves in fall 2020 with a new name to be announced at a later date.
Floyd was killed in Minneapolis while in police custody. Video of the incident, which shows the 46-year-old calling out for air as an officer kneels down on his neck, sparked protests nationwide.