Sunday, January 26, 2014

Iowa GOP Scrambles after Contractor Posts Racist Chart on its Facebook Page

The Iowa GOP had been working with a contractor called 4:15 Communications for roughly one year. 4:15 Communications was responsible for managing the Iowa GOP's Facebook and Twitter accounts and content. They seemed to be working together well enough until this Friday evening when the contractor posted this on the Iowa GOP Facebook page:

(click on image to read more clearly)
The flowchart posted on Facebook asks "Is Someone A Racist?" and then asks a series of questions to determine if somebody is racist. The Iowa GOP Facebook message accompanying the image reads "Because it's Friday night and we don't need serious political posts on Friday night we are sharing this. Happy Friday and LIKE and SHARE! Unless you think the chart is racist, then don't."

Apparently the Iowa GOP itself thought that the chart was racist (or at least troublesome). Within 40 minutes, The Daily Beast reached out to Iowa GOP Chairman AJ Spiker to inquire about the racism flowchart. Spiker had the image removed from the Iowa GOP Facebook page and issued a statement of apology. He also severed the Iowa GOP's working relationship with 4:15 Communications:
Shane Vander Hart, founder and president of 4:15 Communications said the post “didn’t reflect well on the party” and wishes he wouldn’t have posted the chart. “I deeply apologize for the post, it was an error in judgment, and it was certainly something I wish I could take back,” Vander Hart said. “I’m sorry that I offended anyone, it wasn’t my intent.”

He said prior to this incident he felt he had generally done a good job. “Had I thought about (the post) a little bit more I wouldn’t have done it,” he said.
The Iowa GOP has now implemented a new social media policy that requires at least two individuals to review any Facebook or Twitter content before posting.

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