Willie Taggart
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November 27, 2018 03:18 PM

After posting a photo of Florida State University’s football coach Willie Taggart that many have called racist, an employee of Hilton Grand Vacations has been fired, the company said Monday.

Prompted by the Seminoles losing 14-41 to rival University of Florida on Saturday, the man allegedly shared in an FSU fan group on Facebook an image of 42-year-old Taggart, who is black, superimposed over a man being lynched, according to Washington Post. Text underneath read, “Believe in Something Even If It Means Sacrificing Your Rep,” a reference to Colin Kaepernick’s new Nike campaign.

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According to Fox News, when the poster was criticized for the meme, he reportedly responded, “I’m dead F—ing serious. This is how far I’m willing to go to get rid of this clown.”

The image has since been taken down.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, a Hilton spokesperson addressed the situation but did not name the man.

“Our concern regarding this situation has been a top priority,” the statement said. “The person responsible for posting this information has been terminated. His behavior was in violation of multiple company policies and the furthest example from being a reflection of our company’s values.”

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Florida State president John Thrasher also condemned the behavior through the university’s Twitter.

“A recent racist social media post aimed at our football coach is ignorant and despicable,” he wrote. “I speak for the entire FSU community in expressing our disgust and extreme disappointment, and I am glad the state attorney is investigating. Coach Taggart has our full support and as true Seminoles know, he is a respected member of the FSU family.”

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ESPN reports that Taggart became the first black football coach in the university’s history when he was hired in December 2017. The 2018 season, which the team finished 5-7, was its first losing one since 1976 and marked its first time failing to qualify for a bowl game since 1981.

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