This firefighter fired for making racist comments on Facebook is 'like a father' to the KSU blackface student

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Last week, Paige Shoemaker—then a Kansas State University student—made headlines after posting a photo to her public Snapchat story with the caption, "Feels good to finally be a nigga."


Shoemaker is no longer a Kansas State student, the school announced Friday after Shoemaker’s Snapchat post surfaced, but she does maintain an active social media presence. That same Friday, she posted a public status to her Facebook page, depicting two photos side-by-side. One is Shoemaker's Snapchat photo, and the other is of a black woman—apparently responding to Shoemaker's original photo—whose face is painted white. The caption reads, "Damn it feels good to be a school shooter." Shoemaker, above the photo, wrote, "Interesting… but it's just a joke right?" (The post has since been deleted from her Facebook page.)


Shoemaker's deleted post—which apparently aimed to ask why her photo was perceived as racist when the other one was not—attracted a slew of comments. Some were in support, some were in condemnation, and some were blatantly racist. Two comments made to Shoemaker's now-deleted post by a man named John Nygaard made their own headlines Monday after Dell Rapids, South Dakota Fire Rescue terminated him from his volunteer post for the racist remarks.

"Think we should make slaves again…," Nygaard writes in one comment. "Vote Trump! Fuck these people," he writes in another.

According to Shoemaker, Nygaard is her ex-fiancé's stepfather, a man she described as "like a father to me."


"I am not sure what his intent was. I know he was just supporting me though," Shoemaker told Fusion.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page on Saturday, Dell Rapids Fire Rescue wrote, in part, "Dell Rapids fire would like to apologize on behalf of our former member for his insensitive and narrow minded comments on Facebook. This is something we take very seriously and this type of thinking will not be tolerated by our members."


Multiple calls to the number at Nygaard's listed address went unanswered.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.