clock menu more-arrow no yes

Rep. Aaron Schock's advisor resigns after comparing black people to zoo animals

(ThinkProgress)

  1. According to Politico's Jake Sherman, a senior policy advisor to Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) has resigned after comments on his personal Facebook page were discovered and published by ThinkProgress, Buzzfeed, and other media outlets.
  2. The posts, from what appears to be Benjamin Cole's Facebook page, include references to the "hood rats" in his Washington, DC, neighborhood. The hashtag #gentrifytoday was repeatedly used in the posts attributed to him — seemingly a push for white people to move into the area and black people to move out. He also compares passersby to animals who've escaped from the National Zoo.
  3. ThinkProgress' Josh Israel, who wrote the initial report on the posts, says the outlet reached out to Cole and to Schock's office but did not receive a response.

Buzzfeed News reported today that Cole once wrote on his Facebook page that a mosque should be built on the White House grounds for President Barack Obama. In another post, Cole allegedly wrote that he was doing his "absolute best" to put "as many Black Criminals who live and loiter on my street behind bars" — noting that he would do the same to criminals of other races if he "found any." In the same comment, he referred to "Black miscreants" who prey upon him and his neighbors.

According to ThinkProgress, he's also used Facebook to chronicle an encounter with an African-American police officer after an incident in which, he reportedly wrote, a black woman "threw an elbow at me" and told him "you white people need to learn."

Writing in 2008 for BaptistNews.com, Cole reflected on Barack Obama's victory and admitted, "During the course of the past year, I too have been forced to wrestle with my own prejudices. At times, I've joined the bigoted banter and helped to scratch the old wounds of racism."

Update: In a statement to the Peoria Journal-Star, Schock confirmed that Cole had resigned. "I am extremely disappointed by the inexcusable and offensive online comments made by a member of my staff," he said. "I would expect better from any member of my team. Upon learning about them, I met with Mr. Cole and he offered his resignation."