A Georgia state lawmaker this week told a black former colleague that her criticism of Confederate monuments could cause her to “go missing.” In a since-deleted Facebook post, state Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine) also wrote that former Atlanta state Rep. LaDawn Jones would be “met with…something a lot more definitive” than protests if she persisted.
“The truth. Not a warning,” Spencer wrote. “These folks won’t put up with it like they do in Atlanta. It [sic] best you move on.”
Jones had initially commented on Spencer’s post—a photo of himself standing in front of the Jefferson Davis Memorial site, with the caption “This is Georgia’s history #DealWithIt”, according to screenshots obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution—saying that Spencer had better “get [his photos] in” before the monument was taken down. “Are state tax dollars going to this? …I’ll deal with it but don’t want to pay for it. …We will not let you [sic] hate hide behind heritage.”
In response, Spencer wrote, “Hate for others and American history (good and bad) drives your quixotic journey to erase history…. [People like this] go missing in the Okefenokee. Too many necks they are red around here. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about ’em.”
Spencer later told the Atlanta Journal Constitution later over a text that he was simply “warning” Jones in order to “keep her safe if she decided to come down and raise hell about the memorial in the back yards of folks who will see this as an unwelcome aggression from the left.”
Jones told the outlet that she was “concerned” that Spencer’s reaction was “representative of what people in south Georgia think”, but added that, overall, she was unfazed.
“If it were anybody other than Jason Spencer, then I would be alarmed,” she said. “But we had a unique relationship in the Georgia Legislature. If that had come from anybody else, I’d take it as a serious threat.”
Spencer has a habit of posting divisive commentary on his personal page. On August 12, after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville left one counter-protester dead, Spencer commented on one of his own links, equating white supremacy with the Black Lives Matter movement. “Both groups’ arguments are the same. Both have supremacist ideas. Neither believe in individual liberty,” he wrote.
In a separate post referencing the debate over Confederate monuments—a post featured a drawing of a dragon breathing fire—Spencer wrote, “Why must the communist [sic] provoke something they are about to regret?”
Spencer has also posted Islamaphobic articles and photos from sources like Breitbart and the Clarion Project, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “anti-Muslim.” In a post on August 25, which contained a link to a Fox News story about an Italian mayor instructing police to shoot terrorists on site, Spencer wrote,
Does the shouting of “Allahu Akbar” in a crowd now meet the “dangerous speech” standard and threat similar to shouting “Fire” in a theater/crowd? See Schenck v. United States, 1919. Interesting times.