Tara Servatius, a leading blogger for the John Locke Foundation who resigned today over a racially offensive picture she posted to the group's Charlotte, N.C. blog, said in a statement today that she is "genuinely sorry" the photo "has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation." Servatius also said there was "nothing offensive" about the blog post, and that she "didn't think about the racial implications of the picture," which showed President Obama sitting next to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Here's the full text of the statement by Servatius, who before working at the Locke Foundation had been let go from her jobs at WBT-AM radio in Charlotte and as a columnist for Creative Loafing weekly:
"I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.
"If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that. That was certainly not my intention and I would feel awful if that was the case. It was meant to illustrate Obama's southern political strategy, nothing more. An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.
"If you read the piece that goes with it, you will see that I actually think that holding the marriage ban vote this year is a bad political move in North Carolina because it could distract voters from the economy, which should be the main issue.
"PS: At the time, I was searching for a picture of the president in drag to illustrate his southern political strategy of courting young voters, 70 percent of whom support gay marriage. It was one of the first photos to come up on Google Images.
"Regrettably, I didn't think about the racial implications of the picture when I posted it. I simply don't think in those terms. Unfortunately some people do. To me, fried chicken is simply a Southern Cuisine."
Before the Locke Foundation hired her to lead their Charlotte blog, Servatius' career had been checkered by controversy. She was fired from WBT 1110 AM talk radio in Charlotte in May 2011. Rumors circulated that Servatius was let go because of her sharp turn to the right and increasingly controversial positions, as well as personal quirks like demanding a personal security guard (alluded to in this story).
She also worked at Charlotte's Creative Loafing as the weekly's resident conservative voice. But her tenure there was also met with growing controversy, as when she penned a 2010 piece claiming there was a "cycling epidemic" of bicyclists taking over the Queen City, which unsurprisingly drew outrage from cycling enthusiasts.
As reported earlier, Servatius was dogged by actions like speaking to the neo-Confederate League of the South.
As the Charlotte Observer put it in an editorial, "Tara Servatius has long seemed to revel in low-level discourse." Doug Clark at the Greensboro News & Record further said the Locke Foundation "showed poor judgment in the first place by putting one of its blogs in the hands of someone so untrustworthy."
All of which raises the question: Why made John Hood and the John Locke Foundation think Servatius was a good pick for leading their Meck Deck blog in the first place?
IMAGE: Tara Servatius speaking to the neo-Confederate group the League of the South (undated photo)