Rep. Oliver apologizes for using hate language

By Kate Royals and Kayleigh Skinner

Mississippi Today

And Staff Reports

Rep. Karl Oliver, the Republican from Winona who incited a social media uproar after calling for the lynching of Louisiana officials who removed Confederate monuments from New Orleans, issued an apology late Monday morning.

He represents District 46, which includes the Bluff Springs, Cadaretta and Fay precincts in Webster County.

“I, first and foremost, wish to extend this apology for any embarrassment I have caused to both my colleagues and fellow Mississippians,” Oliver wrote in an email.

“In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word ‘lynched’ was wrong,” Oliver said.

“I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term,” he continued. “I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness.”

He removed the Facebook post from his page shortly after issuing the apology. The post, which was written Saturday evening, condemned the removal of the four Confederate monuments from the city of New Orleans.

“If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED!” Oliver wrote.

Gov. Phil Bryant and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, along with other Republican officials, denounced Oliver’s statement. Gunn called on Oliver to apologize.

Gunn, R-Clinton, also condemned Oliver’s words in an emailed statement, writing “They do not reflect the views of the Republican party, the leadership of the House of Representatives or the House as a whole. Using the word “lynched” is inappropriate and offensive.”

At a Stennis Capitol Press Forum, Gunn told a room full of press, lobbyists and other government stakeholders that he revoked Oliver’s position as vice chairman of the House Forestry Committee.

Oliver, 54, who was elected to office in 2015, also received a torrent of backlash last year when he told a Gulfport woman he “could care less” about her concerns about tax breaks being considered by the Legislature. He also suggested she move out of the state.