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*The director of a West Virginia development group and a mayor are under fire after their racist exchange about first lady Michelle Obama caused a backlash and prompted calls on social media for both women to be fired, reports The Associated Press.

Pamela Ramsey Taylor

Pamela Ramsey Taylor

After Donald Trump’s election as president, Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey Taylor posted: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”

Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.”

A petition was promptly launched to have both women fired from their jobs. Nearly 2,000 signatures had been added as of Sunday night.

Whaling has since apologized, claiming her “made my day” comment was referring to “the change in the White House,” and not FLOTUS:

I would like to apologize for any unintentional harm caused by my comment. My comment was not intended to be racist at all. I was referring to my day being made for the change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me, know that I am not in any way racist! Again, I would like to apologize for this getting out of hand!

Taylor’s post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, was later deleted and replaced with an apology…but not before it was shared hundreds of times on social media.

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Taylor has since deleted her entire Facebook page and is now claiming that the backlash and death threats leveled against her since posting the racist message has made her the victim of a hate crime.

Via WSAZ:

Taylor says she has been reprimanded at her job and is unsure whether she will be able to keep her position. She was also on Clay County’s pageant festival committee but tells WSAZ she does not hold any leadership positions in pageantry.

Taylor says she is working with her attorney to file a lawsuit against individual(s) who have slandered her.

She says she is sorry for everything that has happened but says she now believes the situation has turned into a “hate crime against me.”

Taylor says both she and her children have received death threats.

Watch WSAZ’s report on the racist post below:

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