DENVER (CBS4) – A Republican committee chairwoman who posted a racist internet meme on her Facebook account is taking responsibility for the insensitive post.
Colorado GOP Chairman Steve House told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann that Delta County’s Republican Chairwoman Linda Sorenson discussed the situation in a meeting with local elected leaders Monday evening.
“Linda is not the most Facebook adept person,” House said. “This is an internet meme that’s been going around for years. What Linda did was she saw the post on Facebook and thought she ‘liked’ it, but instead it was shared on her account.”
The meme depicts President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee with a photo taken from an old movie where former President Ronald Reagan bottle feeds the animal. Sorenson shared the meme on her account in May and it was quickly picked up by internet blogger Jason Salzman of BigMedia.org before being reported by national media. In an interview Sorenson told Salzman her post was a joke.
“I don’t really care if people are offended by it,” she told Salzman.
Yet many people are offended by the post. The NAACP as well as the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance (GMDMA) is demanding Sorenson apologize and resign from her position.
“Mrs. Sorenson’s reference to President Obama being a monkey is more than bad taste, it is more than disrespectful, it is a direct example of how racism is acceptable humor in our society,” Sondra Young with NCAAP Denver said at a news conference Tuesday. “This is unacceptable because racism isn’t a laughing matter.”
House said Sorenson is “absolutely not” a racist, but rather racially insensitive. Members of the Delta County Republican Central Committee initially told the Associated Press that Sorenson’s Facebook account must have been hacked by liberals in an attempt to make the Republican Party look bad.
“She may be from a small town, but this isn’t a small issue for us” said Reginald Holmes, Vice President of Social Justice with the GMDMA. “It represents something about the Republican Party, it represents something about all of us if we sit idly by and let this kind of racism to continue from Colorado.”
House said he doesn’t think Sorenson will resign, but she is meeting with Delta County Committee members to further discuss the matter.
On Tuesday morning BigMedia.org reported that Sorenson has apologized for the post.
“I admit to saying to the blogger that; ‘I don’t care if you’re offended,’ however I do care very much if anyone else was offended,” wrote Sorenson in an apology first reported by the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning. “Please forgive me for being insensitive and not thinking of others in the heat of the moment.”
Sorenson did not return CBS4’s calls for comment.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.