The following press release was sent this morning- Documentation and screen shots from Foster Arnett's Facebook page can be found at Knoxviews at the following two links: http://www.knoxviews.com/node/23607 and http://www.knoxviews.com/node/23623
For Immediate Release:
KNOX COUNTY CLERK FOSTER ARNETT MUST PUBLICLY EXPLAIN HATEFUL VIEWS EXPRESSED ON HIS FACEBOOK PAGE- REMOVED STORY AT THE KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL SUGGESTS MEDIA BIAS
Knoxville, TN- July 27, 2015
On July 18th, 2015, a variety of highly offensive, hateful views were posted on Foster Arnett’s Facebook page. One post called Muslims “Goat Humpers”, in which it was implied that the US is being lost to Muslims. Another post with a sexist message in which a picture of men with automatic weapons stated “Ladies -- If your man doesn’t know how to fire a weapon, you have a girlfriend.” Another post attacked citizens who voted for Obama twice as “stupid.”
These posts raise serious questions about Arnett’s ethical principles as someone who was elected to represent all citizens in Knox County. We have serious concerns that these posts create a negative environment inside the clerk’s office- for the citizens who use the office on a daily basis and for the employees who work there. The Knox County Democratic Party whole-heartedly rejects this language of division and hate that is hurtful to a large section of our Knox county population.
In regard to this potential misconduct a relevant section of the Tennessee Ethics Commission “Guiding Principles Of Ethical Conduct For Public Officials” is noted below -
“(7) A public official should not, by his or her statements or conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or her, or receive favoritism in the performance of his or her official duties, or that the official’s decisions are affected by the kinship, rank, position, or influence of any political party, entity or person. A public official should be prepared to disclose the conflict or the potential conflict of interest or relationship and, if necessary, recuse himself or herself in order to negate any appearance of improper influence.”
The Knox County Democratic party calls upon County Clerk Foster Arnett to publicly explain the views posted on his Facebook page, and urges him to apologize for this behavior to the citizens of Knox County. Additionally, we invite the leadership of the Knoxville News Sentinel to explain how a story critical of Arnett’s behavior posted online on July 22, 2015, “Knox county clerk’s online comments insulting Muslims raise concerns”, was later removed with no explanation. Knoxville deserves an investigative media that is willing to unveil the truth to its citizens about the conduct of its elected officials. Much like media efforts to educate the public on outrageous and offensive remarks made by Presidential candidate Donald Trump, the Knoxville News Sentinel should apply those same standards to Knox County elected officials, even if they are members of the current majority party in the county.
For more information:
Knox County Democratic Party Chair Cameron Brooks