Sen. Black's legislative aide circulates racist email - WKRN News 2

Sen. Black's legislative aide circulates racist email

Posted: Updated: June 16, 2009 01:49 PM CDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Democratic Party is calling on Republican Senator Diane Black of Gallatin to fire one her legislative aides after the aide sent a racist email from a state computer.

The email includes a photo that depicts all the presidents of the United States with President Barack Obama in the lower right corner as a pair of eyes peering out of a black background.

Sherri Goforth on Monday confirmed she sent the email and repeatedly apologized for sending it to the "wrong list."

"I went on the wrong email and I inadvertently hit the wrong button," Goforth told Nashville is Talking.  "I'm very sick about it, and it's one of those things I can't change or take back."

When asked if she understood the controversial nature of the photo, Goforth would only say she felt very bad about accidentally sending it to the wrong list of people.

Goforth received a written reprimand for sending the email but some lawmakers say that isn't enough.

Democratic Representative Johnny Shaw is former chair of the state's Legislative Black Caucus and told News 2 he is "appalled", calling the action "despicable" and "disgusting."

He said he would like to see Goforth fired.

"I'm sure she didn't mean for certain people to get it, but my question is, ‘Why would you send it, period?'" asked Rep. Shaw.

Several caucus members spoke out after learning of the email.

"We expect an apology and for her to say that she ‘sent it to the wrong [list of] people', that lets me know too that she's not sorry that she did this," said Democratic Rep. JoAnne Favors of Chattanooga.

Sen. Black told News 2 the email was sent without her knowledge and that it does not reflect her own beliefs, values or opinions. 

She said Goforth has worked for the state for more than 20 years and deserves a second chance.

"If those kinds of communications ever were to come from my office again then I would let her go," Sen. Black said.

In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Goforth said, "I want to offer my deepest apology regarding the offensive nature of the email forwarded to several of my colleagues.  I also want to make it clear it was forwarded to me from an acquaintance with absolutely no political party ties and who is outside the Tennessee Capitol Hill arena.  I should have deleted it upon receipt.  Again, I am deeply sorry and offer a sincere apology to anyone offended."

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