Presgraves, mayor of Luray, posted: “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” But the longtime mayor might have even underestimated the backlash from the people of his small town.
A town council member reportedly called the post “inappropriate” while another asked Presgraves to resign from his position.
“Hell no, I’m not resigning,” Presgraves said to local TV station. “I thought it was humorous,” he continued. “I had no idea people would react the way they did. I think people have gone overboard on this … It’s an election year.”
The post has now been deleted but a council member, Joey Sours, told CNN that he had spoken to the mayor to go further and apologize for the post.
In a statement to the broadcaster, Sours wrote:
“The comments, which I find to be hurtful, divisive and potentially damaging to our community, do not in any way reflect my thoughts, feelings or values. I spoke with the mayor personally to encourage him to publicly apologize for sharing the meme, regardless of his intent, due to the resultant impact and to make every effort to rectify the situation.”
Aunt Jemima, formerly a pancake mix and syrup brand under Quaker, was repealed by the company owing to “origins [that] are based on a racist stereotype”.
Quaker said it “will continue the conversation by gathering diverse perspectives from both our organization and the Black community to further evolve the brand”.
Presgraves post comes on the back of Democratic presidential nominee Biden revealing that there are four Black women under consideration for a running mate.