Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County Republican Party central committee, said she doesn’t think a photoshopped image she sent of President Barack Obama’s superimposed on a chimpanzee’s body is racist.
She sent the emailed the picture of Obama and two chimp parents to friends Friday, with the caption, “Now you know why — No birth certificate.”
“Oh, come on!” said Davenport said to O.C. Weekly. “Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people–mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it.”
One of the people she sent it to was County Committee Chair Scott Baugh, who, he told the LA Times, immediately emailed Davenport back, telling her that it was “dripping with racism and is in very poor taste.”
Baugh said the most the committee could do was to censure Davenport, but he called on her to resign. Davenport says she won’t.
“I’m sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth,” she said in an email to fellow party members. “In no way did I even consider the fact he’s half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race. We all know a double standard applies regarding this president. I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn’t particularly like, yet there was no ‘cry’ in the media about them.”
Davenport is also associated with the Tea Party, and this isn’t her first political scandal.
Michael J. Schroeder, the former chairman of the California Republican Party, told the Daily Mail that it was a “three strikes situation for Marilyn Davenport.”
“She was a passionate defender of former Newport Beach city councilman Dick Nichols who stated that he was voting against putting in more grass at Corona del Mar’s beach because, he said, there were already ‘too many Mexicans on the beach’,” said Schroeder.
Tim Whitacre, one of Davenport’s colleagues on the committee, described Davenport as a “polite, gentle grandmother” to the LA Times, and said she should not be punished for the email, since it was not sent in her capacity as a committee member, or to the party at large. It was a personal email, he said, one that he received and saw as “a light-hearted stab over the birther question.”
Whitacre also said that Baugh was blasting Davenport as “political payback” because Davenport has criticized Baugh’s leadership in the past.
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 5 million unique readers per month and serves more than 19 million pageviews.