NELSONVILLE – Multiple Nelsonville City Council members have called for the resignation of fellow member Greg Smith after screenshots of comments using homophobic slurs and racially charged language allegedly written by Smith were posted in a Facebook Group.
Council members Tony Dunfee, Justin Booth, Dan Sherman, and Cory Taylor all expressed in an email obtained by public records request that they were in favor of calling for Smith’s resignation.
Smith denies that the Facebook posts are from him.
“I have hired legal council (sic) to investigate the origins of those post (sic),” Smith said over text to The Athens Messenger. “I do not call people names nor do I agree with calling people names.”
Smith said all further comment would come from legal counsel, but did not reveal to The Messenger who would be representing him.
On Wednesday, the Nelsonville CrackHeads Facebook page posted multiple screenshots of posts Smith apparently made in another Facebook group. The posts, from 2013, appear to be Smith and other members arguing about the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
In the course of the discussion, the person the Nelsonville CrackHeads page said was Smith argued Martin, who Smith referred to as a “thug,” believed Zimmerman to be a homosexual and attacked him for this reason. Smith apparently used a homophobic slur multiple times.
“It is plain, Martin, according to his GF, thought (Zimmerman) was a f**, and he decided to beat a f** up,” Smith allegedly wrote. “I have been asked by f*** when I was younger, I had no interest, but I didn’t feel the need to beat them up for asking.”
In the group, Smith also apparently made light of sexual assault and rape, according to posted screenshots.
“Thew (sic) rape was bogus, it was called rape because he didn’t wear a rubber,” Smith wrote, according to screenshots.
In a post about Chelsea Manning, the military whistleblower who came out as transgender, Smith allegedly said he believed Manning was a “pervert”
“He (Manning) is a damn pervert and we don’t need to spend tax money pretending he is a woman,” Smith allegedly wrote.
It appears the Facebook profile formerly associated with Smith has either been deleted or deactivated, but another Facebook account with the name Greg Smith was created on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
Booth told The Athens Messenger it was an obvious time for Smith to go.
“Obviously those things are very hateful words,” Booth said. “As a society and a city, we can’t condone that.”
Booth said Smith’s denial of the posts does not convince him, and that “every indication” he has seen “is that he is responsible for it.”
“If I’m proven otherwise I’ll retract that statement,” Booth said. “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.”
Booth noted he ran for Nelsonville City Council because he “is not a fan” of Smith. He said his behavior and offensive comments have the potential to hinder the work the city is trying to do.
“This has the potential to derail a lot of work these men and women are doing in our city because he has bigoted and out-dated views that don’t jive with any part of society,” Booth said.
Dunfee, who initiated the email thread obtained by The Athens Messenger, said he did not want to comment any further, but confirmed he did send an email “requesting his resignation due to conduct unbecoming a council member.”