Wes Bellamy

Wes Bellamy

Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy is facing calls to be removed from his job and other public positions he holds after a local author’s blog featured tweets attributed to Bellamy that some consider racist and misogynistic.

The tweets show Bellamy claiming that he hates black people who “act white” or “talk white,” and considers white women to be the “devil.”

Most of the tweets appear to have been written between 2009 to 2014.

According to his Twitter account, Bellamy, who often tweets a few dozen times a day, created his account in April 2009. Since then, he has sent approximately 123,000 of the 140-character-max posts on the social media platform. 

Other tweets published on the blog post written by author Jason Kessler show Bellamy, 30, saying that women often lie about the amount of men they have sex with and that he hates “seeing White people in Orangeburg,” the South Carolina community where he attended college.

In a statement sent Sunday evening, Bellamy, a first-year councilor, said he is sorry for having sent those tweets.

“I sincerely apologize for the inappropriate things I posted to social media many years ago,” the statement said.  “I’m learning to be a better man, community leader, educator, public servant and overall person. Since then, I’ve worked every day to become a better version of myself.”

“There are issues that need to be brought to light and dealt with. Equality in areas such as gender, sexual orientation and race need to be discussed,” he said. “I’ve convened some of those conversations, [but] that does not mean that I’m exempt from any of them, far from it.”

According to a biography on the city’s website, Bellamy, who is originally from Atlanta, moved to Charlottesville in 2009. After failing to be elected to the council in 2013, losing by just five votes, he was the top vote-getter in last year’s election.

In addition to serving on the City Council, he is an appointed member of the Virginia Board of Education and a computer science teacher at Albemarle High School.

He also is active with a number of community organizations, including serving as president of the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, the Young Black Professional Network of Charlottesville and the Charlottesville/Albemarle Alliance of Black School Educators.

Kessler argues on his blog post that Bellamy routinely has been creating divisions in the community by dedicating himself “almost exclusively to his Afrocentric racial agenda, running roughshod over the effete white liberals making up the Charlottesville Democratic Party.”

Pointing to a number of recent controversies in the community, such as the movement to remove the city’s Confederate statues and Bellamy’s call for a boycott of a local restaurant owned by a University of Virginia lecturer who recently wrote on social media that the Black Lives Matter movement is racist, comparing it to the Ku Klux Klan, Kessler said he looked into Bellamy’s Twitter posts for “evidence of anti-white bias.”

Kessler, who wrote last year on his blog that he is “pro-free speech, anti-affirmative action, anti-cultural Marxist and pro-equality,” among other things, declined an interview request Sunday. Kessler’s social media accounts often reference the “alt-right,” a right-wing movement that rejects mainstream conservatism.

Recently, various institutions and civil rights organizations have condemned the movement, alleging that its supporters are often anti-Semitic, white ethno-nationalists who oppose feminism, refugee resettlement and multiculturalism.  

Last week, prior to publishing his blog post, Kessler wrote on his Facebook that he is thinking about running for the City Council to “protect” the Confederate statues and “curtail institutional racial discrimination (i.e. affirmative action).”

He also said he wishes to “protect the legacy of Thomas Jefferson from social justice warriors.”

“I’m looking into it even if it’s just to raise awareness of these cultural issues,” Kessler wrote. “I’m prepared to rain down some fire.”

Kessler’s blog post, which was published Thursday, prompted a number of readers to contact the City Council, the Albemarle County School Board and local media outlets.

City councilors and county school officials did not reply to requests for comment Sunday.

“I believe Wes is unfit to serve because a position on the City Council requires an unbiased view of all Charlottesville’s citizens,” said Aaron Wissinger, a city resident.

Responding to a request for comment, Wissinger said, “one tweet that stood out to me was ‘I don’t like white people so I hate white snow!’ That seems like pretty obvious racism. … I find all of this appalling.”

An Albemarle High School senior, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said he finds it “truly disgusting to know that this man is ‘teaching’ in the school in which I attend.”

The student added that he hopes the city will “remove him” from the council and that he “hopefully gets fired” from the school.

On Saturday, the Virginia Flaggers, an organization that has been advocating for the retention of the city’s Confederate memorials, posted a statement on Facebook that called for the council to remove Bellamy from office.

“Working with fellow councilman Kristin Szakos, Vice-Mayor Bellamy bullied council into spending over $10K to appoint a ‘commission’ to evaluate the statues, based on his false ‘white supremacy’ narrative,’” the statement said. “Bellamy is unfit for office and all attempts to remove or alter our historical monuments must end immediately.”

Nikuyah Walker, a local social justice activist and member of the Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP, said she was alarmed by some of Bellamy’s tweets, but argued that they were presented with little to no context, and that they were written a number of years ago when he was still in his early 20s.

Walker said Bellamy has changed his way of thinking in some regards since then. Echoing a number of Bellamy’s tweets, Walker said he has told her that he thinks it’s wrong for black people to be criticized for “talking white.”

Questioning why Kessler looked so far back into his account, Walker said, “Wes is a black male. You often face a different level of scrutiny” because of that.

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Chris Suarez is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7274, csuarez@dailyprogress.com or @Suarez_CM  on Twitter.

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