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Pawleys Island mayor addresses ’hurtful and insensitive’ social media post

Updated: Sep. 3, 2020 at 7:27 PM EDT
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PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WMBF/WCSC) – The mayor of Pawleys Island addressed the media several days after a controversial Facebook post.

Mayor Brian Henry held the press briefing Thursday afternoon. A press release stated it was “in response to recent social media posts.”

Henry commented on a recent Georgetown shooting where three people were shot and two of them were killed. A Moncks Corner man is now facing charges related to the incident.

In the now-deleted Facebook post Henry said that because it was a black man accused of shooting white people, there was no outrage.

“My comments were hurtful and insensitive,” Henry said Thursday.

RELATED: Pawleys Island mayor under fire over controversial Facebook post

Many people were quick to respond to his post, calling for his resignation.

Henry said he has spent the past 10 days “listening and learning,” noting he’s had conversations with friends, staff and faith-based leaders, who provided him with a deeper understanding of racial inequality and the importance of diversity sensitivity.

“I’m grateful for the grace and forgiveness that they have extended to me,” he said.

Henry said his goal is to be a part of the long-term solution.

“I’m committed to that,” he said.

Henry announced they will be creating a foundation to honor the memory of their friend and Sea View Inn cook Vertrella Brown, saying the foundation is meant to improve race relations through community events, providing scholarships for young people, grants for entrepreneurs to help get their products into grocery stores and helping food banks.

He said more details will be released soon.

Henry also addressed comments online that Brown had created the recipe for Palmetto Cheese, but that that was false, saying the recipe has always been his wife’s.

“Vertrella’s image was placed on the lid because we felt she embodied the love of cooking Lowcountry cuisine, and we have always had a private compensation contract with Vertrella and her family,” Henry said.

Henry said there is a “concerted effort” to boycott the Palmetto Cheese brand, which he oversees.

“Please consider the hundreds of South Carolina jobs that depend on its success,” he said.

Following the short conference, which lasted for four minutes, a reporter asked if Henry had thought about resigning.

“At this time, I’m not going to answer any questions,” Henry replied. “That was my statement. Thank you very much.”

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