GOP Activist: Gorilla on Lam Just Michelle's Ancestor

South Carolina Republican apologizes, sort of, for racist remark
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2009 7:07 AM CDT
Sarah Brown, Carla Bruni and Michelle Obama attend a ceremony to mark the 65th Anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy, Saturday, June 6, 2009.    (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Turns out that pegging a primate as a member of the first lady's family tree on a public website might not be the best career move, as an activist in the South Carolina GOP is finding out. Rusty DePass has apologized after making a comment on a friend's Facebook photo of a gorilla that had escaped from a local zoo, reports local TV station WIS—"I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors—probably harmless."

Fellow Republicans tried to distance themselves from the comment, and the mayor of Columbia said that DePass should apologize for the "racist" statement. DePass said in an interview he was "as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone" but went on to insist that "the comment was hers, not mine." He said that the first lady had recently stated that all humans are descended from apes, but there have been no reports of any such speech.
(Read more Michelle Obama stories.)