An upstate New York politician referred to MSNBC news anchor Melissa Harris-Perry as a “damned dirty ape” on Twitter.
The remark, made by Jim Coughlan, the Dutchess County controller and candidate for state Senate, was in response to remarks she made about child-rearing that upset many conservatives.
Coughlan said he had no idea that Harris-Perry is black and denied the comment had racist undertones, saying he simply repeating a “well-known quote from the Planet of the Apes.”
“I don’t watch MSNBC,” he said. “I don’t know about their stories or their journalists.”
But Democrats ripped his online behavior — and even some fellow Republicans distanced themselves from him.
“This is irresponsible,” said Dutchess County legislator Gwen Johnson, a Democrat. “As an African-American woman, I find this very insulting and appalling.”
Harris-Perry, the host of a Sunday morning show on the network, has been repeatedly targeted for conservatives after recording an ad for her program about communities collectively being held accountable for children.
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have,” Harris-Perry said, “because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: ‘Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility.’”
Are you buying Coughlan’s explanation that he didn’t know who Melissa Harris-Perry was?
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