City manager in Lorena, Texas, apologizes for anti-gay, racist remarks on Facebook

Posted on 23 Aug 2011 at 5:14pm
Billy Clemons

I was on vacation last week and out of touch with Internet news for most of that time, so I missed it when the uproar started over comments that Billy Clemons, city manager for the city of Lorena just outside Waco, made on Facebook.

According to the text of a story published in the Waco Tribune-Herald (subscription required) and emailed to me, Clemons made several Facebook posts that angered some folks, such as “If you think homosexuality is normal, you just might be a Democrat.”

In another example, while discussing television coverage of assaults that occurred recently at the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee, Clemons wrote, “The perpetrators are black and all the victims are white. If this were reversed, would the media have any doubt as to whether it was racially motivated?”

The comments were made public last week by KWTX-TV, which posted this brief story online on Tuesday, Aug. 15, quoting Clemons as saying there is no policy against him posting whatever he wants on his Facebook page, that he was “just talking about my ideology, my politics with the people with whom I’m friends,” and that anybody who didn’t like it could just “get over it because that’s my First Amendment right.”

By the next day, after some folks criticized him for being defiant, Clemons had changed his tone a little, according to the Tribune-Herald story, saying that he was sorry if he had hurt anyone’s feelings. But he still insisted he had done nothing wrong: “We have lot of discussions on a lot of different topics and I thought it was private. … I did not commit an offense against any person or persons. I do have a First Amendment right. I did get some criticism that I sounded defiant. I wasn’t exactly defiant. I was stunned that someone had robbed me of my privacy and was put out with the fact that somebody was trying to set me up.”

(Perhaps someone should explain to Mr. Clemons that posting things on Facebook is not the best way to keep them private, and that reading something someone posted on Facebook and then sharing it with someone else is not robbing the original poster of their privacy.)

Clemons also broke out the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” routine in the Tribune-Herald story, saying, ““I am opposed to homosexual conduct, the same way I am opposed to adultery by a heterosexual. I just think there should be standards.”

That “different tone” from Clemons came on Monday, the same day that the Lorena City Council met in closed session to discuss Clemons’ Facebook faux pas, although the council took no action against him.

According to the Tribune-Herald, Clemons, 62, has been city manager for Lorena since March 2010 and previously served in the Texas Legislature for 14 years. According to the Legislative Reference Library of Texas, Clemons represented a portion of Angelina County from 1983 to 1997. He entered the Legislature as a Democrat and remained a Democrat until he switched his allegiance to the Republican Party on Sept. 20, 1995.

You can watch video of his first interview with KWTX-TV below:

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