Georgia lawmaker to resign after bizarre television appearance - CBS46 News

Georgia lawmaker to resign after bizarre television appearance

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Source: Showtime Source: Showtime

Georgia representative Jason Spencer will resign his position at the end of the month after a bizarre appearance on a cable television show on Sunday.

The television show "Who is America?" is hosted by Sacha Baron Cohen, who gained fame as the popular character 'Borat.'

Spencer, who represents the state's District 180, covering the cities of Woodbine, Kingsland and Waycross in south Georgia, made national and international headlines as a result of his appearance on the show, which included several embarrassing antics and comments. 

Cohen convinced Spencer to scream the "N" word over and over, asked him to pretend to be a Chinese tourist and got him to bare his buttocks and chase him while screaming "I'll touch you. I'll make you a homosexual. Drop that gun! U.S.A! U.S.A!"

Georgia Speaker of the House Kaleb McMichen sent out a statement early Wednesday morning, saying Spencer will step down on July 31.

Georgia Lawmakers sound off

The appearance caused shock waves at the Georgia Capitol and across the state with several people demanding that Spencer resign his position.

On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal took to twitter to condemn Spencer In the tweet, Deal writes, "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."

House Speaker David Ralston also issued this statement regarding Spencer's appearance:

“The actions and language used on this video are reprehensible. Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately. Georgia is better than this.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, also issued this statement on Spencer's appearance:

"Rep. Spencer's words and behavior are hurtful, insensitive, and completely unacceptable. At the very least, he should issue a public apology for this shameful incident."

Kemp also removed Spencer from his endorsement list.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle also condemned Spencer's actions in a tweet sent out Monday morning.

Cagle wrote, "Jason Spencer is a disgrace to Georgia and should resign his elected office immediately. While I’m glad he never supported our campaign and actually actively opposed us, I think it speaks to the judgment of our voters that he was overwhelmingly defeated earlier this year."

The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also called for Spencer's resignation. They released the following statement: 

The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today called on Rep. Jason Spencer to immediately resign his position as a state representative after footage of Spencer shouting "sand n*gger," "n*gger," and other racial slurs aired on Showtime's "Who Is America?" 

CAIR Georgia also called on Democratic and Republican leaders in Georgia--including Stacey Abrams, Casey Cagle, and Brian Kemp--to insist on Spencer's immediate resignation.

Spencer released the following statement to our sister station WTOC-TV in Savannah, Georgia:

In 2017 I received countless death threats in connection with my introduction of legislation involving the wearing of masks. The threats escalated to the point that my wife received threatening phone calls concerning her and my children. I was very afraid for my safety and the safety of my entire family. Then, on June 14, a gunman opened fire at members of Congress on a baseball field. I knew people on that field. Now, the fears I already had became more intensified as the reality of my family being targeted by a similar, deranged, would-be assassin became even more possible. I was in such a poor state of mind that my wife and I also undertook marriage counseling with a licensed therapist during this time. 

Sacha Baron Cohen and his associates took advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked. In posing as an Israeli Agent, he pretended to offer self-defense exercises. As uncomfortable as I was to participate, I agreed to, understanding that these "techniques" were meant to help me and others fend off what I believe was an inevitable attack.

My fears were so heightened at that time, I was not thinking clearly, not could I appreciate what I was agreeing to when I participated in his 'class'. I was told I would be filmed as a 'demonstration video' to teach others the same skills in Israel. Sacha and his crew further lied to me, stating that I would be able to review and have final approval over any footage used. 

I deeply regret the language I used at this 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. 

I apologize to my family, friends, and the people of my district for this ridiculously ugly episode. 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. Therefore, I will finish the remaining five months at my post and vacate my seat.

Spencer's past behavior

This isn't the first time Spencer has been involved in a controversial incident. Last summer, Spencer posted what were considered to be threats of violence against anyone who considered removing Confederate monuments from state grounds. 

In the posts, Spencer says "I can guarantee you won't be met with torches but something a lot more definitive," and "People in South Georgia are people of action, not drama."

He then writes, "They will go missing in the Okefenokee. Too many necks, they are red around here. Don't say I didn't warn you about 'em."

The posts were deleted shortly after.

He was beaten by Steven Sainz in the Republican primary election earlier this year. 

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