After footage aired of Jason Spencer, a Republican state representative in Georgia, screaming a racial slur and pulling down his pants on Sacha Baron Cohen’s show, politicians are calling for his resignation, The Hill reports.
On Sunday night’s episode of Cohen’s satirical Showtime series, Who Is America?, Spencer also reportedly mocked Chinese people and stabbed a mannequin wearing a hijab — all while Cohen, in disguise as an anti-terror export, pretended to train the state lawmaker to confront terrorists.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who’s also a Republican, tweeted, “The actions and language used by Jason Spencer are appalling and offensive. There is no excuse for this type of behavior, ever, and I am saddened and disgusted by it.”
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, David Ralston, the Georgia House speaker, also issued a response. “Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately,” he said. “Georgia is better than this.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution noted that Jon Burns, the Georgia House majority leader, and Bob Trammell, the Georgia House minority leader, may file an ethics complaint about Spencer.
The Washington Post’s Steven Zeitchik tweeted out a statement from Spencer. In the statement, Spencer blamed his actions on his “paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked” in the wake of the 2017 shooting at a Congressional baseball practice, and after he received death threats for advocating for a ban on Muslim women wearing veils in public.
Spencer has refused to resign, citing the fact that he already lost his bid for reelection during his primary, as Politically Georgia had pointed out. Spencer wrote, “I deeply regret the language I used at his request as well as my participation in the ‘class’ in general. If I had not been so distracted by my fears, I never would have agreed to participate in the first place. … Therefore, I will finish the remaining five months at my post and vacate my seat.
“I apologize to my family, friends, and the people of my district for this ridiculously ugly episode,” he added. “Finally, there are calls for me to resign. I recently lost my primary election, so I will not be eligible to hold office next term.”
Spencer previously made news in August 2017 when he said that people who want to remove Confederate-era statues might “go missing.” He later said in a statement that he regretted his “choice of words” and claimed that he was trying to warn “that there really are people who would harm others over the issue.”