Tenn. CEO Sends Racist Email Comparing Michelle Obama to Tarzan’s Chimp

March 7, 2010

(ChattahBox)—Our First Lady, Michelle Obama is a beautiful and Harvard educated woman of color, who has done our country proud with her grace, style and passion for her unique opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. But Walt Baker, the CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association believes she resembles a chimpanzee, and he found the idea so hilarious he had to share his racism with his pals. He forwarded a “joke” racist email to 12 prominent Nashville citizens (all white males) comparing Michelle Obama to Tarzan’s chimp Cheeta, with the introductory message, “Quoting Larry the Cable Guy … I don’t care who you are, this is funny.” Hahahah, hilarious, right? Comparing African Americans to apes has long been part of our dehumanizing institutional racism, which suggests that people of color are less than human. And when the good ole Tennessee boy Walt Baker was first asked about the email, he dismissed any racial implications associated with its message, saying “it was in good fun.”

Baker’s Southern hospitality apparently only extends to white folks. He forwarded the offensive email on Thursday afternoon to a dozen public figures, referred to by Baker, as “a select group of friends,” including mayoral legislative aide Toby Compton and Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau president Butch Spyridon.

The email contained the following text, with an image of Michelle Obama next to a photo of a chimpanzee:

“I was at the store yesterday, and I ran into Tarzan! I asked him how it was going and if he was into anymore movies.?? He told me that he could no longer make any more movies as he had severe arthritis in both shoulders and could no longer swing from vine to tree. ??I asked how Jane was doing, he told me she was in bad shape, in a nursing home, has Alzheimer’s and no longer recognizes anyone, how sad. I asked about Boy, and he told me that Boy had gone to the big city, got hooked up with bad women, drugs, alcohol, and the only time he heard from him was if he was in trouble or needed something.? I asked about Cheeta, he beamed and said she was doing good, had married a Lawyer and now lived in the White House!!!”

Word of Baker’s crude racist email reached Metro Councilman Walter Hunt, when people started to phone him about the depiction of our African American First lady as a chimp. “It was demeaning, insulting, racist — not only to her, but to every citizen in the city of Nashville and the state of Tennessee,” said Hunt.

Throughout Friday, Baker dug in to his original sentiment that it was just a joke folks. Lighten up everyone! When contacted by the blog Pith of Nashville Scene Baker chastised reporters for trying to create a “political” issue:

Baker said he meant no offense and sent the crude email to “a select group of friends.” “If anybody wants to make a political agenda out of it, they’re wasting they’re time,” said Baker.

Baker then continued, saying that he apparently chose the Nashville dozen, recipients, because he believed they would appreciate the racist humor:

“It’s not a political statement,” Baker added. “It was done in the spirit of having some fun with some close friends. It was something that was forwarded to me, and I forwarded it to a couple of people that, quite honestly, I thought might find some humor in it like I did.”

At least one recipient didn’t share Baker’s vile racism and alerted the media. Toby Compton, said “I don’t think it’s funny — period.” And The NCVB’s Spyridon called the email “unacceptable and not representative of our organization and what we stand for.” Spyridon said he telephoned Baker and “chewed him out.” As the fallout over the crude email continued and made it to the local news channel, Spyridon released a statement condemning Baker’s email, as “appalling and unacceptable” and terminated the NCVB’s “contract with Mr. Baker’s marketing agency, Mercatus Communications.”

Appearing on News 2, Baker finally appeared contrite over his actions:

“It was wrong, my initial reaction to the story was wrong,” Baker told News 2. “It was stupid and I am alone, the responsible party in this.” “I regret my actions and I’m going to regret my actions probably forever,” he added.

Late Friday, Baker emailed an apology to the original 12 recipients containing one word: “Sorry.” Baker then sent a more carefully crafted statement of apology to the Nashville Metro Council characterizing the email as political humor:

“Thursday night I spontaneously forwarded — to a small group of people — an email that had been sent to me as political humor. As I forwarded it, I did not think or consider its implications, other than that it was political humor. I am saddened that anyone misinterpreted the sentiments behind the email. I deeply apologize to anyone who is offended by this action. I hope that those who know me realize that the message was not intended to be malicious or hurtful in any way and can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

This is not the first time Tennessee has had problems showing blatant racism attacking our first black President Barack Obama and his family. Last June, Sherri Goforth a staffer for Tennessee State Senator Diane Black sent out a racist email, during work, which depicted President Obama, as a pair of “spook eyes.” When confronted with her racism, Goforth was only sorry that she sent the racist missive to the the “wrong list.”

And let’s not forget Former Tennessee, Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman, who sent out the “Barack the Magic Negro” song as a “gift” to Republican National Committee members. Saltsman’s racist ditty attacking the president of the United States is a favorite of hate talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Watch the News 2 coverage of Baker’s chimp email:

h/t Crooks and Liars


65 Responses to “Tenn. CEO Sends Racist Email Comparing Michelle Obama to Tarzan’s Chimp”

  1. pg on March 10th, 2010 11:43 pm

    I am very surprised that you racist people leaving the comments here were actually able to even read and UNDERSTAND article…

    Go back to church and to marrying your cousins.

  2. Cirno on March 11th, 2010 1:10 pm

    How dare that racist hate-filled white man perpetuate a “joke” about our first lady! I propose that this man be hung in public to make sure we send a message to all racist heretics that they’re unwanted filth that deserve to be purged from this planet!

    Kill whitey! Praise be to Allah!

  3. Gibbsme on March 12th, 2010 12:28 am

    Common, it easy to see she looks like an ape, but that doesnt effect her. Let it be.

  4. j on March 14th, 2010 10:50 am

    I’m still waiting for CHANGE! the only change I have seen is
    Declining prices of homes and
    loss of jobs and
    HIGH GAS PRICES! damn! Wake up people! Obama was elected because of his color – not his abilities. Apparently there is not enough racism. If there was more racism, he would not have been elected.

    Liberalism is more of a problem than Racism. Liberalism is what got him elected in the first place. Stupid Liberals thought we needed a black president regardless of his abilities

    Liberalism is a mental disorder

  5. gdfdfgdfgdfgdhgw45yhjn on March 18th, 2010 6:58 pm

    Anything that is negative toward that bomb happy child molesting anti american kenyan born gorilla is racist! GET OVER IT! He is an illegal alien dictator who will be overthrown before he destroys this country in the name of Islam!

  6. kloue on March 26th, 2010 1:53 am

    the chimp is a white chimp with black hair. take a look at the picture one more time.

  7. kloue on March 26th, 2010 1:55 am

    the chimp is a white chimp with the black hair. take a look at the picture one more time.

  8. jeremy on April 1st, 2010 12:03 am

    The picture is awesome. America we are screwed just goes to show what happens when you give a black family a free house with a credit card with no spending limit. They can rack up trillions of dollars in the matter of months.

  9. Kyle on April 29th, 2010 2:34 pm

    You are an idiot saying this is racist. Its so unfair that black people can say WHATEVER THE [edited] THEY WANT about white people, while we can’t make any amusing jests about how one particular black person looks. I mean, they compard Bush to the SAME EXACT [edited] ANIMAL and nobody thought that was racist! I mean, these f[edited] black rappers are talking about killing and stealing from white people and that’s just fine? Obama even said he enjoys rap, and specifically named a gangsta rapper. [edited]you you [edited]

  10. jon on May 1st, 2010 4:05 am

    I suggest to whites that are concerned about race and color to focus on academic and scientific achievement. If you are as bright as you say then figures will speak for themselves. At the moment Japan is the second largest economy and china’s economy is larger than any eurpoean country, The asians also have the highest IQ in standardized tests.

    The whites developed their economies by looting and colonizing asian wealth and scientific technology. Now Asia is taking back its rightful place. America is forced to outsource jobs and bring immigrants becuase it lacks smart local people to run its large economy. The whites are too mediocre or lazy and the blacks are uneducated. The intellectual whites in academia want immigrants and competition but the hillbillies whites like David Duke want easy money.

  11. ken it barboo on May 14th, 2010 7:05 pm

    [edited] Ever notice how [edited] comedians alway talk about “white people?” Say ONE word about a [edited](and let’s get over this “african-american” crap too. None of them even know where Africa is) and the shi+ hits the freaking fan! Enough already. They can’t even clean up their act with the racists Al and Jesse “helping” them.

  12. joe on July 31st, 2010 11:31 am

    Nah…she is just a dog…a mongrel one, according to her husband.

  13. Su Wei Li on October 17th, 2010 2:22 pm

    Balack Obongo learned to walk on his hind legs and convinced liberals that he was human….. What a joke…. If Obongo was twice as smart as he is now…. he would still be stupid.

  14. Sue on October 18th, 2010 9:53 am

    Su Wei Li:

    You a despicable racist. Please return to that rock that you crawled out from under from. You are not welcome in polite society.


  15. Rafa on November 30th, 2010 9:32 am

    Well, she dos dress, look and thinks like and APE. I thought it was funny because it´s true.

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