Warning: this post contains language that some readers may find offensive.
Last week, Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy was put on administrative leave after a series of controversial tweets emerged online. Various posts on Mr. Bellamy’s twitter account between 2009 and 2014 contained highly vulgar content, conveying anti-gay and misogynistic messages. The tweets have engendered extreme criticism from the public.
A number of Bellamy’s tweets contain anti-white comments, gay slurs, crass slang for female genitalia, and expletives. The messages, which were primarily posted before Bellamy became a prominent local political figure, stand in stark contrast to his more recent tweets encouraging acceptance, unity, and equality in the community.
Bellamy was elected to City Council in 2015, and was chosen to serve as the vice mayor at the beginning of 2016. He also teaches computer science at Albemarle High School. In addition to the administrative leave from teaching, Bellamy has decided to resign from his position on the Virginia Board of Education. He expressed his resignation in a statement to Governor Terry McAuliffe.
“I have decided to resign from my appointment to the Virginia State Board of Education. I would like to redirect my attention and focus to my family, the children and young people whom I serve, and to the City of Charlottesville.”
This resignation resulted from pressure by many angry and disappointed protesters who were upset about Bellamy’s tweets. In response to these protesters, Bellamy issued a statement apologizing for his tweets.
“I want to be very clear: I owe thus city, and this area everything – including an apology. I am sorry for the tweets that I sent in my early to mid 20s that were made public last week. I am not looking to defend or justify my words. They are indefensible, and at 30, they do not reflect the man that I am or the things I believe toady. I hope that you will judge me for my actions today – and not the words I wrote while still growing as a man.”
Many locals still believe that Bellamy should be removed from the Vice Mayor office altogether. The comment section of his statements are filled with disgust and resentment for the Vice Mayor.
Megan Mac, a Charlottesville local, had strong words regarding the Bellamy’s current position.
“Bellamy is still claiming that all the tweets were no later than mid-twenties. He was 28 years old in 2014–just two short years ago. The only thing that changed is that he wanted to run for public office.”
UVa students have similar sentiments about the Vice Mayor of Charlottesville. Connor Loats, a first-year undergraduate, is worried about Bellamy’s tweets.
“It is unacceptable for a person in a public office to be saying things like this. It is especially concerning that he is the Vice Mayor of the city that I am going to be living in for the next four years.”