A Tennessee software executive has been terminated after a social media firestorm identified him as the person responsible for sharing a racist meme showing former president Barack Obama with a noose around his neck.
Screenshots shared on social media this weekend allege that the image was posted by Gary Casper, identified as vice president for information technology at Chattanooga-based Transcard, reports The Chatanooga Times Free Press.
— Martha Warwick (@Martha5320) May 16, 2020
The picture depicting Obama with a noose around his neck includes the caption “#PayPerView” above his head.
Casper’s Facebook profile listed his position as vice president of IT at the software company, as well as previous IT roles at US Xpress, according to the screen grabs.
Threatening to harm or kill a former president is considered a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison, the Times Free Press notes.
On Sunday afternoon, Transcard president Chris Fuller emailed the newspaper saying the company does not allow its employees to make political statements on social media.
“As soon as Transcard realized that an employee was utilizing social media to engage in political speech, it took immediate action to terminate its relationship with such person,” Fuller wrote in the email.
Earlier on Sunday, Transcard posted to Facebook that “views reflected in posts made by individuals do not reflect the views or values of Transcard.”
Malcolm Nance, a renowned intelligence and counterterrorism expert, tweeted: “This is disgraceful. The US Secret Service needs to interview & investigate.”
Update on Gary Casper 👇🏻 He’s also deleted his Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/EquZBzyQYW
— LiA (@LibsInAmerica) May 17, 2020
The Alabama State NAACP issued a scathing statement on Sunday night saying they are “extremely outraged that Gary Casper, VP of Information Technology for Transcard, was allowed to post this deeply disturbing image of former President Barack Obama with a NOOSE around his neck on Facebook and continue working.”
They demanded *a public explanation and formal apology from Transcard as well as confirmation that Casper’s employment has been terminated and that a full investigation is underway.”
“Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States and with that title must come a level of decorum and respect,” the statement continued. “The Alabama NAACP is calling on everyone to contact Transcard to express their outrage.”