Georgia lawmaker who yelled racial slurs on Sacha Baron Cohen show says he won’t resign
The Georgia lawmaker who yelled racial slurs on Sacha Baron Cohen’s TV show that aired Sunday says he has no intention of resigning.
“There are calls for me to resign,” state Rep. Jason Spencer (R) said in a statement Monday, according to the Daily Beast. “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 statement as he faces pressure from lawmakers to resign after Sunday night’s episode of “Who Is America?” on Showtime. In the episode, Spencer repeatedly shouts the N-word after Cohen, who is pretending to be an Israeli military expert, tells him that using the “forbidden” word will help ward off terrorists.
Spencer also partially pulls down his pants and chases Cohen with his buttocks exposed, yelling, “USA, motherf—–!”
— Who Is America? (@SHOwhoisAmerica) July 23, 2018
In his statement on Monday, Spencer apologized for what he called a “ridiculously ugly episode.” He also said he was tricked into partaking in the fake anti-terrorism class during a vulnerable time in his life.
Talking Points Memo reported that Spencer said in 2017 he had received death threats after introducing burqa ban legislation at the state legislature.
“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,” he said. “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 believed was an inevitable attack.”
After the show aired, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston (R) called Spencer’s behavior “reprehensible.”
“Representative Spencer has disgraced himself and should resign immediately,” Ralston said in a statement. “Georgia is better than this.”
His comments were echoed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R), who said he was “disgusted” by Spencer’s actions.
Spencer was recently defeated in the GOP primary after serving four terms. He had previously threatened legal action against Showtime to prevent the cable network from airing the footage.
Cohen’s undercover project has gained attention for featuring several GOP figures, including former Vice President Dick Cheney who signs a “waterboard kit” in the most recent episode.