Morrisey Spokeswoman Loses Job Over Racially Charged Video
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has lost her job after being identified in a white supremacist YouTube video titled “The Stop White Genocide Video.”
The video shows Bowe and other women dressed in all white clothing reciting lines such as “anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.”
Just days before the Gazette-Mail's report was published, Bowe made a post on Facebook regarding a "project" she was involved with that “may be offensive and hurtful to some.”
She apologized in the Facebook post, stating that it was never her intent to hurt anyone and accepted responsibility for her role in the white supremacist message. Bowe also claimed she had never seen the final edit of the video.
Bowe submitted a one sentence letter of resignation Thursday, stating: "As of today, August 25, 2016, I resign from position at the WV Attorney General's Office"
Attempts by West Virginia Public Broadcasting seeking comment were returned by Bowe via text message Thursday afternoon, with Bowe stating that she is "embarrassed and heartbroken over the video" and that she does not condone the "system of beliefs" presented by the producers. Bowe said her intent in appearing in the video was to create an "authentic [dialogue]" on race relations.
Here's Bowe's full statement to West Virginia Public Broadcasting:
I’m embarrassed and heartbroken over the video. Embarrassed that I didn’t do proper research and questioning over the video’s true intent and the finished product reflected a system of beliefs in which I, in no way, condone or believe. I’m heartbroken that my likeness and words have been used to halter what needs to be real dialogue and education about race relations in this country. When the video was originally shot, I was doing a lot of freelance modeling work for friends and local artists. The person who shot this asked me to be in the video, because of my looks, quite frankly. I didn’t know him well, clearly, but I felt like I knew him enough that the video’s purpose was aimed at further discussion on race relations from a white perspective. What I mean by this, is that growing up, you could not question why some races could talk or behave a certain way and it was seen as ok, whereby if the behavior was repeated by a white person, it was automatically racist. As a child and a teenager, the inability to even question this was confusing and, really, the opposite of the honest dialog we need to have in order to understand different cultures and their history better. My personal intent was to bring this forward and have some authentic dialog, yet all in the context of a role I was playing for this video. Ignorance is the only way to describe my repeating lines that had historical reference, of which I didn’t understand or even know. Again, had I been smarter and more diligent, I would have known the true intent of this video, and realized that my words were being used for very different reasons. The fact remains, however, that my participation in this video, highlights how latent and deep rooted racism can be- to where we don’t even understand how offensive and hurtful our behavior can be. I understand and accept responsibility for my ignorance. I can only hope that people find the grace to forgive me, but regardless of whether they do, I hope they can use this as an opportunity to discuss how our words and actions, regardless of intent, can continue a system of thinking and beliefs that only continue to sets us back in terms of understanding and accepting one another.
Morrisey press secretary Curtis Johnson confirmed Bowe's termination in a short statement released via Twitter Thursday afternoon.
"The employee in this video is no longer a member of this office," said Johnson, noting that the video was produced years before her employment with the Attorney General's office and that her involvement was not disclosed until Thursday.
Johnson also stated that Bowe's remarks in the video "do not reflect the opinion or perspective" of the office.
When asked via email Friday whether Bowe was fired or resigned from her position, Johnson provided Bowe's letter and said: “The Attorney General took action immediately upon learning of the video. This did not turn up in a background check and was never disclosed to the Attorney General until yesterday.”