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      WRNN radio host resigns as blogger over graphic picture of Obama

      photo courtesy of facebook

      Tara Servatius, host of WRNN's Hot Talk Morning Show in Myrtle Beach, resigned Tuesday from her position as a blogger with the John Locke Foundation over a photoshopped picture of President Barack Obama that appeared as part of a blog she published Monday.

      The blog is about President Obama's opposition to North Carolina's marriage amendment. The image that accompanied the blog was an image of President Obama in tight black clothing, chains, high heel boots and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him.

      The article remains on the website, but the picture has since been taken down.

      In an email response to NewsChannel 15, Servatius said:

      "I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.

      If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that. That was certainly not my intention. It was meant to illustrate Obama's southern political strategy, nothing more. An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.

      If you read the piece that goes with it, you will see that I actually think that holding the marriage ban vote this year is a bad political move in North Carolina because it could distract voters from the economy, which should be the main issue.

      I was searching for a picture of the president in drag to illustrate his southern political strategy of courting young voters, 70 percent of whom support gay marriage. It was one of the first photos to come up on Google Images. Regrettably, I didn't think about the racial implications of the picture when I posted it. I simply don't think in those terms. Unfortunately some people do.

      To me, fried chicken is simply a southern cuisine."

      In a facebook post, the president of the John Locke Foundation, John Wood, said he is "embarrassed and angered" and called the picture "offensive and utterly inappropriate for our blog or anyone else's."

      The foundation's website says it was created "as an independent, nonprofit think tank that would work for truth, for freedom, and for the future of North Carolina."

      According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber said, "We at the NC NAACP have learned of the disgusting picture of our President on the John Locke Foundation blog and website. What we have seen so far has both racist and homophobic overtones, both of which are contrary to the fundamentals of our democracy. It's outrageous and it shows the kind of racialized, mean-spirited and divisive political attitudes that still exist in the South."

      WRNN is owned by the Next Media Group. Servatius' radio show is broadcast 6 to 10 a.m.

      WRNN general manager Barry Brown said Servatius' blog is not grounds to fire her from the radio show.

      "We really don't think Tara's personal blog reflects the view of Next Media," said Brown. "She said nothing wrong on the radio. It was on a personal blog. If it offended people, we are sorry."

      When asked if Tara will be on the radio show Friday, Brown replied "yes".