Mark Johnson, News & Observer (Raleigh), May 6, 2009
Gov. Beverly Perdue asked for–and received–the resignation of N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Commission Chairman Doug Fox on Tuesday, just hours after newspapers provided Perdue’s office with a copy of a racist photo illustration sent from Fox’s e-mail address after last November’s election.
The e-mail included an altered photo of the White House that turned the South Lawn into an enormous watermelon patch. The phrase, “There goes the neighborhood . . .” was printed above the photo.
The e-mail was sent from Fox’s law firm address Nov. 14–10 days after Barack Obama was elected president. The message, which had been forwarded multiple times by others before reaching Fox, contained no text other than the subject line, “how true.”
Fox made no mention of the e-mail in his resignation letter, suggesting instead that he was leaving voluntarily.
But Perdue indicated in a statement Tuesday afternoon that the resignation was linked to the e-mail.
“I have accepted Doug Fox’s letter of resignation,” Perdue said. “E-mails and images of this nature are offensive and unacceptable.”
E-mail went to lobbyist
The lobbyist who received the e-mail from Fox, Bill Hester, refused to speak with the newspapers when contacted by phone and e-mail. He represents Southern Wine & Spirits, a major liquor distributor.
Copies of the altered image of the White House have been bouncing around e-mail boxes across the nation for months. The mayor of a small southern California city, Los Alamitos, resigned in February amid criticism for sending the same watermelon patch photo.
‘That’s pretty tacky’
State Rep. Alma Adams, a Greensboro Democrat and chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus, applauded Perdue’s actions.
“That’s pretty tacky,” Adams said of the image. “It’s insulting to our president.”