Former Sheriff Targeted For Allegedly Posting Hateful Facebook Meme
December 5, 2017
A Livingston County commissioner came under fire during Monday’s meeting for a questionable social media post.
Former Sheriff Bob Bezotte was targeted for an October Facebook post that showed a meme photo of two congresswomen - California Democrat Maxine Waters and Florida Democrat Frederica Wilson. The meme had a caption with obvious spelling errors and stated the “two despicable Democratic hags” need to be thrown out of office. The 74-year-old Wilson and President Donald Trump have been involved in a controversy related to the President's condolence call to the widow of one of the soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger, which Wilson maintains was insensitive. She is quoted as saying Trump is a “jerk” and a “liar” who “doesn’t know how to be a president.” The 79-year-old Waters has been leading a crusade to impeach Trump, referring to him as “a man with no good values, no good intentions and no good respect.”
Various members of the Livingston County Democratic Party and others spoke during call to the public, saying the county runs on hatred with posts like that and it involves use of a public forum to be transparently racist. Chairwoman Judy Daubenmier expressed extreme disappointment and disgust with Bezotte, who she says felt no shame in sharing the meme. Daubenmier said a picture is worth 1,000 words and in this case, all 1,000 are racist, sexist and ageist plus politically intolerant – all in one meme. Her statement is posted below. Bezotte bluntly denied posting the meme and interrupted Daubenmier while speaking to call her a “liar”, saying he doesn’t know who posted it.
Kimberly Bates of Brighton Township told Bezotte he represents the county and being a gay woman, those types of posts send a very unwelcoming message. She suggested if Bezotte doesn’t understand how Facebook works, then maybe it’s not the venue he wants to be in.
Bezotte maintains he does not know who posted the meme, but it may have been an instance of unauthorized access. He repeatedly denied the accusations during the meeting and spoke with WHMI afterward. Bezotte says he is outraged at being called a racist and was both shocked and appalled at the accusations being made - saying nothing could be further from the truth. He felt the attack was kind of ironic and suspects it might be politically motivated – noting it’s coming up on another election next year and his opponent in the previous election is already running so he’s not surprised. That opponent would be Steve Williams, who was present at the meeting to give an update to the commission as he serves on the Huron Clinton Metroparks Authority Board of Directors.
An investigation will be conducted and Bezotte says he will be in contact with the county’s Information Technology department to try and get to the bottom of the situation.
Williams meanwhile has responded with the following statement:
"I have never visited Bob Bezotte Facebook page despite his multiple attempts to 'friend' me last year.
I had no prior knowledge of the Facebook post in question. Nobody communicated with me about the issue in any way before last night's Board of Commissioners meeting. I recognized Judy Daubenmier but don't know any of the other Livingston County residents who spoke during call to the public last night. I had no advance knowledge of Bob's Facebook posting or that people were coming to the meeting to say anything about Bob.
I am not a declared candidate for the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. I was contacted by a Lansing political consulting firm about running for the open District 22 Michigan Senate seat currently occupied by Joe Hune and have had multiple meetings concerning that opportunity. I have not made a decision about that candidacy." (JM)