The Environmental Protection Agency’s Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson told employees today via an email obtained by The Hill that the agency “has no tolerance for racism,” and will thoroughly investigate incidents of slurs written on whiteboards in the agency’s Office of Public Affairs.
The messages, found written on whiteboards over the last several months, included the n-word and other racial slurs. The ongoing problem was reported by Politico last week.
From The Hill:
Jackson vowed in an email obtained by The Hill that the EPA will “hold the individuals who are spreading these messages responsible.” He said the EPA is taking “every measure” available to find the person or persons who wrote the messages, and to protect employees.
“If you have experienced these actions or have information you believe could be helpful to hold individuals accountable for these actions, please let your supervisors know,” he wrote in the email to staff. “We need to solve problems like these together because it affects all of us and is a problem no one at EPA should experience.”
Later in the email, Jackson said that there are currently no leads on who may be writing the messages.
This isn’t the EPA’s only brush with racism in the past few months. Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler caused a small controversy in early October when it was reported that he had liked a racist meme featuring the Obamas from his Facebook account in 2013 and spread conspiracy theories. The meme “depicted then-President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sitting at a sports game looking on intently while a white person’s hand holds up a banana in the foreground,” according to The Hill.
“Over the years, I have been a prolific social media user and liked and inadvertently liked countless social media posts. Specifically, I do not remember the post depicting President Obama and the First Lady,” Wheeler told The Hill.