Georgia Rep. Jason Spencer yelled racial slurs and pulled his pants down during an appearance on an episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series “Who Is America” that aired late Sunday. Georgia’s Speaker of the House David Ralston is calling for Spencer’s resignation.
Spencer represents Georgia’s 180th district, which includes Camden, Charlton and Ware counties. In the episode, Cohen plays an Israeli military expert who convinces Spencer to participate in a “counterterrorism video.”
Spencer closed the episode with an equally offensive and hate-filled “message to supposed terrorists.”
The cherry on top of this disgusting footage is Spencer's reminder that he is a state representative and the Georgia logo.
Following Spencer's televised actions, multiple Republican leaders released statements condemning Spencer and demanding his resignation. Ralston released a statement that reads, “The actions and language used on this video are reprehensible. Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately. Georgia is better than this.” Secretary of State Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp removed Spencer from his list of endorsements before the GOP runoff for governor on Tuesday. Kemp said, “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.”
Governor Nathan Deal tweeted:
The director for the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Edward Ahmed Mitchell said, “The ignorance and malice behind Islamophobia has led Mr. Spencer to not only pursue bad policy but engage in humiliating and hateful behavior unbecoming of anyone—especially a state legislator.”
Last week Spencer said the show’s producers “took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone.” He went on to say “They exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety. This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected.”
On Monday, Spencer apologized for the “ridiculously ugly episode” but refused to resign. However, the public voted him out of office before the episode even aired. After four terms in office, Spencer was defeated by the Republican challenger Steven Sainz during the May primary.
This isn’t Spencer’s first hate-filled act as an elected official. Following Trump’s election in 2016, Spencer submitted a bill that would have banned Muslims from wearing veils in public. The bill was withdrawn after it faced immediate backlash.
A year later, Spencer threatened a former Georgia lawmaker, African American attorney LaDawn Jones, who supported the removal of Confederate statues in Georgia. In a Facebook post that was later deleted Spencer said, “Looks like you are afflicted with the same poison you claim to fight against. I can guarantee you won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive. People in South Georgia are people of action, not drama.” He went on to say that anyone who wanted the statues removed would go missing in the Georgia Okefenokee swamp. Spencer also faced calls for resignation following this incident but refused.
Due to Spencer’s refusal to resign, Georgia’s 180th district will continue to be represented by Spencer until the November election.