A Bellmead City Council member on Monday attributed racist social media posts to computer hackers, although a review of his Facebook page revealed at least six such posts over a span of 13 months.
When asked Monday about a post that it appears he shared on Friday, current Bellmead City Council member and immediate past Mayor Gary D. Moore said, “I don’t remember posting that.”
When asked again, Moore repeated that he doesn’t remember sharing a post of the offensive material, and when asked a third time, Moore said, “I didn’t post it, so I wouldn’t have a comment.”
About 30 minutes later, Moore posted on his Facebook page that he received a call from the Tribune-Herald about his Facebook postings and claimed that his account was hacked. However, within two hours, Moore removed that post in which he claimed his Facebook account had been hacked.
Moore also told a Tribune-Herald reporter that he would “friend” him on Facebook so the reporter could more thoroughly review Moore’s page. That did not occur.
Later Monday, Moore said he reported the alleged hacking to Facebook.
“I don’t check that real often, and when you said something, I went and checked it,” Moore said. “Let me put it to you this way, OK? My family has different ethnic groups. There are Hispanic, there are black, there are white, there are American Indians. If you are going to put me out there as a racist, you better have some information to back it up. I think you are grasping at straws.”
Five of the posts on Moore’s Facebook page indicate they were shared by Moore from Friday through Monday. Another post is from Aug. 13, 2016.
The shared posts include:
- A photo of black men running. The post asks, “Want to stop the riots? Run up to the crowd and shout, ‘the welfare office is on fire,’ and they’ll run there to put it out.” Posted on Sunday.
- “I’m proud to be white. I bet no one passes this on because they are scared of be (sic) called a racist.” Moore shared it on Saturday.
- A photo depicting “Satellite Image of Hurricane Lee,” featuring swirling winds with a Confederate flag in the eye of the storm. Posted Sunday.
- A post featuring Granny Clampett from the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show talking to a frowning Barack Obama, saying, “You turned the land of the free into the land of the freeloaders.” Posted Monday.
- A shared post shows a police officer arresting a black man. The caption reads, “Hurricane season is here. Time to loot, loot, loot. Not anymore, son. Obama is no longer president.” Posted Friday.
- A post features a photo of Vladimir Putin and a quote attributed to him. “If minorities prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that’s the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination.’ ” The post reads, “Like and share if you agree with Putin.” Moore shared it on Aug. 13, 2016, according to a screenshot of his Facebook page.
All of the screen shots from Moore’s Facebook page feature his business card as a salesman at Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and identifies him as Gary “Mayor” Moore.
Three of the six posts were removed from Moore’s page by late Monday afternoon.
Peaches Henry, president of the Waco-McLennan County chapter of the NAACP, said she is disappointed that an elected official would harbor such feelings.
“As I have observed before, racism and prejudice are present in our community. These types of bigoted and discriminatory posts reveal the true nature and beliefs of the individual who posted them. At least, we now know his real attitudes, if indeed he posted them,” Henry said. “Given the strained racial climate we are currently in, it is disheartening when an elected official engages in such negative and hurtful activity rather than in behaviors that demonstrate respect and acceptance of all people, no matter their race.”
Jo Welter, chairwoman of the Community Race Relations Coalition, said it is up to those who encounter potentially racist views to speak out, adding that she has seen more inclusiveness in the Waco area because more people are doing so.
“I think that is awful,” she said of the posts on Moore’s Facebook page. “I think that it is important for people around him, all of us, to point out that we will not tolerate this type of hateful rhetoric. It is very important we don’t put up with that.
“One of the things I noticed since moving from Wisconsin to Texas 30 years ago is how acceptable it was to make such openly hateful comments. I have always felt it was important to say something, to react to those comments, to let people know that it is not acceptable to do that.”
Moore was elected to the Bellmead City Council in May 2012 and was re-elected to a third term in May 2016. He served as mayor from May 2015 to May 2017 and served as mayor pro tem from May 2014 to May 2015.
According to the city’s website, Moore said he ran for city council “due to the need for communication with the citizens.” He said he wants “to unite the community and move the city forward to a thriving municipality and bring in businesses.”
Bellmead City Councilwoman Alfreda Love declined comment on Moore’s posts. Councilman Travis Gibson, meanwhile, said he is cautious on his own Facebook page and tries to keep posts professional.
“I am not friends with Gary on Facebook, but one thing I do know is that before you post something, you better make sure it is appropriate and acceptable,” Gibson said. “This is my first time hearing about this, so I’m not sure about it. I do have a personal Facebook page, but I try to keep everything professional. Of course, I don’t know the facts, but if it is true, it would be disappointing. I will have to look at it and get some more information.”