A prominent S.C. Republican Party activist is in hot water after describing an escaped gorilla at a South Carolina zoo as an “ancestor” of First Lady Michelle Obama.

The exchange occurred after Trey Walker, an advisor to S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster, posted an innocuous Facebook update about this morning’s escape of a Western Lowlands Gorilla from Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo.

Walker’s harmless update, however was followed by a highly-questionable comment from longtime SCGOP activist and former State Senate candidate, Rusty DePass.

“I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless,” DePass wrote.

An early South Carolina supporter of former President George W. Bush, DePass has been active in Republican politics in South Carolina for decades.

FITS has obtained a vid cap of his remark from a Facebook friend …


Obviously, we’re all for First Amendment freedoms and politically incorrect remarks around here, but this strikes even our most indelicate of sensibilities as out of bounds.

And while we will defend DePass’ right to make such a comment, it’s insanely racist – sort of like the anti-Obama flyer found on S.C. Rep. Bill Sandifer’s desk last year.

Stay tuned … we’re sure this remark will generate some significant attention and discussion, if for no other reason than the fact it’s another example of the oft-cited perils of social networking sites.

Update – The comment has been removed from Facebook. No word yet on who yanked it.

Update II – WIS-TV 10 (Columbia, S.C.) has picked up the story, as has liberal website Daily Kos.

Update IIINews Channel 7 (Spartanburg, S.C.) has republished the story, as have WLTX and WOLO, both in Columbia, SC.

Update IV – CNN is now running with the story, picking up off of WIS-TV.

Update V – This thing is big-time now, with the New York Daily News getting into the mix. And C-Net.

Update VI – Funniest thing ever … check out the “FITS Makes News” Interview with Michelle Obama in which she “responds” to the comments …