(WM) A Tennessee woman was fired from her job after appearing in viral videos in which she is seen making racist and homophobic comments toward demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter rally.
On July 4, Sonya Holt attended a Black Lives Matter rally in the city of Elizabethton as a counter-protester. In one of the videos of her posted to Twitter, Holt is seen disparaging one of the protesters who is a Black female.
“You’re just a poor little Black girl who’s got a messed-up mind,” Holt said.
Some of Holt’s comments were also homophobic in nature. According to the NBC affiliate WCYB-TV, Holt told one protester, “you’re a gay homosexual piece of crap who’s going to burn in hell,” while she taunted another protester by saying “cross the line, f*g boy.”
The Keith Family Vision Clinic in Johnson City where Holt was employed confirmed to WCYB-TV that she no longer works there.
Protester Sierra Gilmer, who recorded one of the viral videos of Holt, said that this moment should be used to raise awareness regarding the prevalence of racism across various social communities.
“The biggest thing to take away from this is just to realize that racism is in your community however much you think it might not be,” Gilmer said. “There are a lot of people that reached out to me saying that they didn’t realize that this was happening in Elizabethton and they didn’t realize there were people there like that.”
According to the LGBTQ publication PinkNews, Holt has since denied being a racist and “tried to excuse her use of homophobic slurs by claiming that Loven [the protestor whom she told to “cross the line, f*g boy”] [had] called her a ‘Ku Klux Karen,’” prompting her vitriolic response.