The mayor of a small Alabama town is facing strong criticism after posting a comment on Facebook calling for the killing of members from the LGBTQ community. Mark Chambers,50, mayor of Carbon Hill, responded to a negative post about minorities and suggested “killing them out.”
Chambers has since apologized for the post. “Although I believe my comment was taken out of context and was not targeting the LGBTQ community, I know that it was wrong to say that anyone should be kill (sic),” he wrote, adding, “There are not enough words for me to express how much a (sic) regret posting that comment.”
Here’s what you need to know about Mark Chambers and his controversial social media post.
1. Chambers’ Inflammatory Post was a Response to a Facebook Friend’s Comment
Chambers had originally written a post on Facebook, in all caps, which stated, “We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics!”
The post was met with a reply from a Facebook friend. “By giving the minority more rights than the majority. I hate to think of the country my grandkids will live in unless somehow we change and I think that will take a revolution,” the unidentified friend wrote.
“The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it’s bad to say but without killing them out there’s no way to fix it,” Chambers responded on May 30.
2. A Local Television Reporter Exposed Chambers’ Comment
When WBRC television reporter Brittany Dionne learned about the post, she called Chambers and asked him to comment. “Mayor Mark Chambers was not happy to hear from us,” Dionne told viewers, explaining that Chambers hung up on her when she called. Chambers did call back but gave Dionne what she described as an “earful.”
During the call with Dionne, Chambers initially denied writing the comment. “I don’t think I posted that. I think that’s somebody else’s post,” he told her. When she asked if someone was using his identity on Faceboook, the mayor said he didn’t know and hung up. Several minutes later, Chambers called Dionne back, confessed that he wrote the comment in question, but explained that it was meant to be a private message and had been taken out of context.
Dionne said that Chambers went on to tell her that immigrants were “ungrateful,” and were taking over the country. Chambers also explained that his Facebook comments were meant to address the possibility of another civil war. “I’ve never said anything about killing out gays, or anything like that,” he revealed, adding, “That’s in a revolution. That’s right. And if it comes to a revolution in this country, a war in this country, both sides of people will be killed out.”
Chambers told Dionne that his Facebook posts should be private. “Do you know your page is public?” she asked. Chambers’ post was deleted soon after and his Facebook page was removed from public view.
3. Some City Council Members are Defending Chambers
WBRC reported that city council members are split on whether or not Chambers should vacate his post. Chambers was formally asked to resign during a June 3 city council meeting, with some council members privately telling Dionne that his comments have embarrassed the small town. Chambers, who was not present for the meeting, told the Daily Mountain Eagle he has no intention of stepping down.
But Chambers has the support of some council members. “(Chambers is) a great man and he’s a good leader. He has good leadership. He’s on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” fellow City Council Member Reverend Clarence Colbert shared with WBRC’s Dionne. Colbert went on to say that Chambers was instrumental in hiring the city’s first African-American police chief and that the city’s budget has increased under his direction.
Colbert went on to say that Chambers’ apology should be sufficient. “He’s apologized profusely and said he was sorry, and he would do whatever it takes, even if it meant stepping down,” Colbert said. “I told him, ‘please don’t step down’ because his leadership has brought the city as far as it has.”
4. Chambers is Facing Harsh Criticism for His Remarks
Chambers’ inflammatory comments have angered people around the globe. The Carbon Hill city’s Facebook page has been flooded with negative comments and negative reviews.
“What Mark Chambers said was the worst kind of social irresponsibility a person in his position could have uttered. If any harm comes to any member of the LBGTQ community of Alabama because of his careless and cruel comments he should be held fully responsible and brought up on charges,” Lawrence Joseph wrote.
“City council members, we are WAITING for a response to the disgrace that is your mayor! I’m starting to wonder if you condone his remarks… Should we all start calling your offices?!?” Diana Ptaszynski said.
“Fire the Mayor. There is no place for such hate,” Mike Lane commented.
Speaking to the Daily Mountain Eagle, Chambers again reiterated that he was not personally advocating for the killing anyone, and attempted to justify his comments. “What I had said was in a war, you know, the only way to get your way is to kill the other side out. I had not idea it would never be a thing like this.”
A Change.org petition was created on June 4 calling for Chambers’ ouster. “Mark Chambers, Mayor of Carbon Hill, Alabama has called for the MURDER of #LGBTQ people, in a Facebook post, since deleted. He must be removed from office immediately!” the petition reads.
5. Carbon Hill’s Previous Mayor Was Arrested for Sexual Contact With Female Inmates at the City Jail
Chambers, isn’t the only Carbon Hill mayor who’s stirred up controversy. Chambers was appointed as mayor of Carbon Hill in 2014 after former Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson, was arrested for multiple sex crimes, including soliciting sex from female inmates at the local jail. The charges included four counts of first-degree sexual abuse; four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment and one count of soliciting a prostitute.
“Specifically, the indictment charges that Richardson subjected four separate victims to sexual contact by forcible compulsion and also that he engaged in sexual conduct with some of the victims while they were in the custody of the Carbon Hill City Jail,” Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange said.
In October 2014, Richardson accepted a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to five counts of harassment and one count of second-degree sexual abuse. Richardson was placed on probation in lieu of prison time and was required to register as a sex offer. The other charges were dismissed.
“The witnesses in the case were of questionable character and the allegations seemed to be contrived by those who had been inmates at the Carbon Hill Jail,” Richardson’s attorney Ken Guinn, Jr. said, adding that the plea agreement was in the best interest of his client, who suffered from diabetes, severe stress and “other infirmities.”