ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. – A Facebook comment by an Alleghany County leader has hundreds calling for his resignation. They say, according to an online petition, that his comment was “racist.”
Cletus Nicely, a nearly 30-year member of the Alleghany County Board of Supervisors, commented on a Facebook post about Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
In his comment, he stated Harris “should be in a corn field.”
Speaking with 10 News Wednesday, Nicely said things have been taken out of context. He said the remarks are part of a joke he uses often with friends and family.
Nicely said, “I used to tell my granddaughter that when she got her class pictures that I was going to put it in a cornfield to scare the crows away. It had nothing to do with racist or anything like that.”
Audra Hill was left with a different perspective from his remarks.
“Telling us to go back to the cornfield is basically referring to slavery. We want nothing less than his resignation,” said Hill.
Hill’s online petition has garnered hundreds of signatures as of Wednesday evening. She plans to present the petition to the Board of Supervisors at their next meeting in early September.
“I have many, many Black friends,” said Nicely. “I’ve served in the army with Black guys as my best friend. I don’t have any reason to be racist at all.”
While Hill and others are calling for his resignation, Nicely said he has no intention to do so.
“I don’t think I’ll make another statement over social media,” said Nicely.