Georgia state representative Jason Spencer (R-GA 180) is facing intense criticism after he suggested to an African American former colleague that she might “go missing” should she try to remove Confederate memorials in his part of the state.
Spencer originally posted a picture of himself on Facebook posing next to a memorial to Confederate leader Jefferson Davis, writing: “This is Georgia’s history. #DealWithIt.” In response to the Facebook message, LeDawn Blackett Jones, a former Democratic state representative, commented that Spencer should pose “before [the statue] is taken down.”
“African Americans endured 400 years of slavery and 30 years of Jim Crow, yet we persisted,” Jones added, after Spencer insisted the statue would stay put. “Take a photo—you won’t be in the legislature forever.”
The two continued to spar in the comments to the photo, with Spencer saying at one point that should Jones “continue [her] quixotic journey in South Georgia,” it would “not be pleasant.”
“The truth,” Spencer added. “Not a warning. These folks won’t put up with it like they do in Atlanta. It best you move on.”
At this point, a third commenter jumped into the back and forth between Spencer and Jones, agreeing with the assertion that there is a cultural gulf between Atlanta and the rest of the state.
“You got that right,” Spencer confirmed. “They will go missing in the Okefenokee [swamp]. Too many necks they are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about them.”
“Sounds like a threat of physical violence,” Jones responded. “Is that what we are doing now?”
However, despite the alarming rhetoric from the state legislator, Jones insisted that she and Spencer had a friendly relationship from their time serving in office together.
“If it were anybody other than Jason Spencer, then I would be alarmed. But we had a unique relationship in the Georgia Legislature,” Jones, now an attorney in private practice told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “If that had come from anybody else, I’d take it as a serious threat.”
Spencer agreed, telling the paper he was “Just trying to keep her safe if she decided to come down and raise hell about the memorial in the back yards of folks who will see this as an unwelcome aggression from the left.” He also pointed to the fact that he’d recently posed for a picture alongside the newly dedicated Martin Luther King memorial on the statehouse grounds.