Locke Foundation blog uses racist image in blog on NC's Amendment One (UPDATED)

LockeObama.jpgThe Meck Deck, an official blog of the Art Pope-funded conservative John Locke Foundation, this week published racially-charged and homophobic imagery of President Obama in a piece this on the president's opposition to North Carolina's proposed anti-gay marriage amendment. The post, which claims Obama is merely pandering to gay voters, is accompanied by an image of Obama in apparent drag while sitting next to a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The Meck Deck's slogan is "Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte." The blog's "About Us" link takes readers to site of The John Locke Foundation, and the blog appears under the Locke Foundation banner.

The piece itself, which shows a datestamp of Monday, March 19, 2012, is written by *. Servatius, a former right-wing radio commentator for Charlotte's WBT AM, is a regular contributor to the Meck Deck. (UPDATE: Servatius also runs the MeckDeck Twitter account, and authors a good share of their posts.)

The John Locke Foundation is one of the leading groups in Art Pope's conservative network in North Carolina. According to IRS tax records, since 1994 Locke has received more than $24 million from Art Pope's family foundation, making Pope by far the largest funder of the group, and making the Locke Foundation far and away the Pope Foundation's biggest grantee. Pope also sits on the Locke Foundation board.

Here's a screen cap of the post as it currently appears (as of March 21, 9:45pm):


Here's a close-up of the image (which is labeled on Locke's website "Obama.gay_.png"):


UPDATE 3/21/12 10:14 PM: Locke Foundation has abruptly taken down the picture. No explanation provided. Here's how the blog post looks now:


* UPDATE 2: Given her prominent role at Meck Deck, how involved was Servatius in the decision to post the Obama image, and keep it up for two days? Last year, a Charlotte blogger noted that Servatius was a speaker at an event for the neo-Confederate group the League of the South. Here's a picture from the event, which shows the League's website.


UPDATE 3: Rev. William Barber of the NC NAACP has issued a statement:

REV. BARBER STATEMENT - We at the NCNAACP have learned of the disgusting picture of our President on the John Locke Foundation blog and website. What we have seen so far has both racist and homophobic overtones, both of which are contrary to the fundamentals of our democracy. It's outrageous and it shows the kind of racialized, mean-spirited and divisive political attitudes that still exist in the South. On Thursday we will demand to know who authorized and developed such a racist and bigoted portrayal to be placed on the site of an organization that seeks to have so much influence into the shaping of public policy in NC. Whoever did it is completely over the line. It is reckless and dangerous. And should not only be an afront to the black community, the civil rights community, the LBGT community, but every North Carolinian.

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