As mayor of a small South Carolina town, Hardy King is known for his recycling initiatives and parking ordinances. But personally, he shares anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant memes on Facebook.
King is the mayor of Irmo, South Carolina (population 11,851). While Irmo does not have a mosque, nearby Columbia has both a mosque and an Islamic center.
On June 4, King shared a photo blaming Muslims for a series of shootings and bombings.
On May 26 and May 14, he re-posted a meme from “Cold Dead Hands” that read “Liberals are saying the American flag is offensive to Muslims. Share if you don’t give a damn.”
On April 6, he re-posted a meme with “Facts!” that included “95% of Warrants issued for Murder in Los Angeles are for Illegals” and “More than 66% of ALL births in California are to Illegals on Medi-Cal.”
King expressed no regret in sharing the memes.
“I’m sure the article isn’t going to do any good anyway,” he told The Daily Beast, “and I don’t know who’s going to read it here, and I’m sure it’s already biased in the first place. But that’s fine. That’s life, and that’s politics, and I’ll deal with that.”
He also appeared to believe that his Facebook posts did not merit public concern, commenting sarcastically “like it’s your business, or somebody’s…”
Atif Choudhury, a Muslim former resident whose parents still live in Irmo, said he was disgusted by the posts.
“It’s really shocking, because I think in like two weeks we’re going to approach the three-year anniversary of the Charleston church massacre,” he told The Daily Beast. “And to have a mayor of a mid-size town in 2018, to say something like that and not understand the ramifications is really astonishing.”
“I’m not in Irmo right now. It’s tough, because you don’t know what’s going to happen when the mayor of your town, the mayor of the town your parents live in, says something like this,” he added. “Who knows if someone takes that as a license to go and do something?”
The post about Muslim attacks have since been deleted, but the others have not. According to his website, King will seek re-election in 2019.