Editor’s note: The headline of this story has been edited to clarify that the posting involved a county-level GOP Facebook page
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A local Republican Party in Alabama is being scrutinized after a photo that appeared to contain Ku Klux Klan imagery was shared on its Facebook page.
Sunday night, a post was made on the Lawrence County Republican Party’s page, thanking the group’s former chairman and welcoming the new chairman, Shanon Terry. The post, shared on Twitter by Alabama House minority leader Anthony Daniels, initially included a photo of a “GOP elephant” that used the white space between the elephant’s legs to create what appears to be hooded figures.
The post was taken down later that night and then reposted with a different GOP elephant image, but not before Facebook users noted the Ku Klux Klan imagery.
Some have even called on the new chairman to resign from the county’s school board.
Terry apologized Monday, saying, “I would like to offer a deep and sincere apology for a picture that temporarily appeared on this page last night. A Google search picture of a GOP elephant was used and later found to have hidden images that do not represent the views or beliefs of the Lawrence County Republican Party. The picture was then immediately replaced. As chairman I take full responsibility for the error.”
In a statement to Nexstar’s WHNT, Terry said he will not resign from his elected seat.
“The voters of District Four elected me to represent them and I am proud of the accomplishments of this administration over the past six years. I look forward to continuing to strive to give every student in Lawrence County the best opportunity to be successful.”
Terry went on to say that he regrets the mistake, calling it “unintended.”
“The image posted by me on a political Facebook page was not done with any malicious or harmful intent,” he explained. “Once made aware of the negative portion of the picture I immediately replaced it and followed up with an apology/explanation the next day. My error was rushing to post a thank you note to the outgoing chairperson, in doing so I did not properly review a cut and paste image used in that post from an internet search for a ‘GOP elephant’. I do not support or agree with any hate group agenda and certainly would not try to further their cause.
The image, created by Woody Harrington, initially appeared in a 2020 Mother Jones article “about the hate, bigotry and racism hidden within Trump’s GOP.” The freelance illustrator addressed Terry’s use of the image on Instagram Wednesday, saying, “[It has] come to my attention that the Hate Elephant has been given new life (without permission or credit of course) in not one, but two republican campaigns.”
Alabama House minority leader Anthony Daniels was also critical of the post, saying on Twitter that the use of the image was “disgusting.”
The Lawrence County NAACP is scheduled to host a press conference about the incident and to call for Terry’s resignation on Friday.