A racist post about US first lady Michelle Obama has prompted calls for the director of a West Virginia development group and a mayor to be sacked.
Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Donald Trump's election as president, saying: "It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels."
Clay's mayor Beverly Whaling responded: "Just made my day Pam."
The post, first reported by WSAZ-TV, was shared hundreds of times on social media before it was deleted.
Apology for response
Ms Whaling has since apologised for her response.
An online petition is now calling for the removal of Ms Whaling and Ms Taylor.
Ms Whaling said her comment was not intended to be racist, claiming in a statement that she was in fact referring to the change in the presidency.
Clay’s town council plans to discuss the issue at a previously scheduled meeting later on Tuesday.
Ms Taylor told WCHS-TV on Monday night that she had been put on leave by Clay County Development Corporation.
The non-profit development group provides services to elderly and low-income residents in Clay County, and is funded through state and federal grants and local fees.
It is not affiliated with the town of Clay, which is about 80km (50 miles) east of Charleston.
Owens Brown, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People’s West Virginia chapter, is among those calling for the removal of both women.
"I feel so it's unfortunate that people still have these racist undertones," Mr Brown said.
‘No place for these attitudes’
“Unfortunately, this is a reality that we are dealing with in America today. There’s no place for these types of attitudes in our state.”
African-Americans make up about 4 per cent of West Virginia’s 1.8 million residents, according to the US census.
About 77 per cent of Clay County residents supported president-elect Trump in the November 8th election.
In 2012, president Barack Obama received 31 per cent of the county vote when Republican Mitt Romney easily carried the state.
The town council has a previously scheduled meeting arranged for Tuesday.
Last week in Kentucky, Republican Dan Johnson defeated incumbent Democrat Linda Belcher in Bullitt County despite a series of Facebook posts which depicted Barack Obama and his wife as monkeys.
Republican officials, including likely new House Speaker Jeff Hoover, had called on Mr Johnson to drop out of the race. But Mr Hoover declared last week that Mr Johnson would be "welcome in our caucus".