Albemarle planning board members caught using homophobic slurs on video

Published 5:52 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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Members of the planning board of the city of Albemarle were captured on video using homophobic slurs during Thursday’s meeting.

According to video footage obtained by the Stanly News & Press, two members of the board on a live microphone used slurs.

Identified by the roll call at the beginning of the video, three members of the board, Joey Gathings, John Sullivan and Dean Speight were sitting on the right side of the board from the perspective of the seating area.

Gathings was asked, “Why would all these people be here?” referring to the many citizens who nearly filled the City Council chamber sitting area.

When asked this question, the meeting was paused, allowing people to leave early when the board tabled an amendment regarding drag shows which was on the agenda.

Into a live microphone, Gathings appeared to say, “That’s for that d— drag queen and s— like that round here.

“That’s that d— drag show, f—— and q—–.”

He added, “that’s what they’re here about … I can’t believe they tabled that s—.”

Another board member, Speight, appeared to use a slur asking if someone was “representing the q—–,” to which Gathings said, “no, representing us.”

Speight later said, “these people who were here were against the q—–.”

Gathings referenced “the drag queens shows like they had at the Boardroom.”

In a statement to the Stanly News & Press, Albemarle Mayor Ronnie Michael said, “We are aware of inappropriate and inflammatory remarks made during a meeting of the voluntarily appointed planning and zoning board. We do not condone the words that were used and they do not represent the City of Albemarle’s values or beliefs. We are currently determining the procedural steps to move forward.”

The video was on the city’s Facebook page, but was removed. According to Albemarle Public Information Officer David Fath, the video was taken down because “the words used in the video were a violation of the City’s social media policy.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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