A part-time surveyor for the city of Dearborn, Michigan, is no longer working for the city as a result of the backlash he received for posting a racist comment on WXYZ Detroit’s Facebook post of a Muslim woman featured on Sports Illustrated.
The man in question, identified as Bill Larion, left a comment on the news channel’s Facebook post that says: “Cute picture should be on the cover Camels are us.”
While speaking to Action News 7, Larion denied the allegation and said that the message did not come from him and claimed that his account was hacked when the racist incident occurred. But the city of Dearborn is taking the matter seriously.
“The comment violates the city of Dearborn’s values and practices, as well as our expectations for employees,” Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said in a statement to reporters. “It violates the very heart of our mission statement, which is that we must earn the public’s trust in everything we do.”
The statement from the city also said that they have begun investigating the case.
“The city requires that all employees treat people of all backgrounds with respect. That expectation carries over into employees’ behavior off hours, when, under certain situations, their actions can be considered a reflection on the City of Dearborn,” it reads.
“For someone to say that in the open, I wonder what he says behind closed doors,” Tarek Saleh, who started a petition to get the man fired, which was taken down after 120 signatures, told the news channel. “Especially [when] you work for the city of Dearborn, which the majority is Muslim.”
On Wednesday, it has been confirmed to WXYZ that Larion is “no longer working for the city.” However, it is unclear if the man was fired or if he resigned from his position.
MORE BACKGROUND: Dearborn employee admits to LYING, writing RACIST FB comment. Now, the Arab American CIVIL RIGHTS League is calling for action. As of 2:30 pm, the worker is STILL on the job. No suspension. @wxyzdetroit #6PM https://t.co/pDzu9avCH1
— Simon Shaykhet WXYZ (@simonshaykhet) May 8, 2019
It was also revealed in the update report that Larion lied to the station when he said that a hacker was the one responsible for leaving the racist comment on the post.
“References to camels is an oft-used dehumanizing racial slur used against persons of Arab ancestry and against Muslims and those who are perceived to be Arab,” CAIR-Michigan said in a statement to WXYZ.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube / WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7