Calls are growing louder for a Long Island town official to resign after several social media posts from him insulted women and the disabled, as well as the LGBTQ and Jewish communities.
The vile comments were found on the Facebook page of Oceanside Sanitation Commissioner Ryan Hemsley. One features a swastika made of smiling emojis; others were too offensive to be shown or repeated by NBC New York.
"There's nothing joking about Jews in ovens, the Klan committing lynchings," said State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who joined with other officials in demanding Hemsley be removed from the job he was elected to serve. Hemsley was initially appointed to the position, and was recently re-elected.
"Pure hate, people who have that kind of hate in their heart, they should not be in public office, period, " said U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice.
Others who live in the community voiced their disgust with the posts as well.
"He has made jokes out of some of the most horrific acts in history, and taken swipes at the most vulnerable in our population," said Oceanside resident Jonathan Brooks, who has autism.
Adam Novak, the Chairman of Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island, called it "abhorrent that someone with these beliefs and values represents Oceanside."
The board attorney said it had issued a resolution asking Hemsley to resgin, as they not have the authority to fire him.
"We have asked the attorney general to advise us what power we have under the law to remove a commissioner," said John Ciampoli, the attorney for the Board of Commissioners.
Hemsley defended himself on Facebook, initially writing back in October that he did not post the material. A few days later, he issued an apology, saying in part "I would like to give my apologies to the entire Oceanside community for the horrific posts with my NAME on them from Facebook. I take responsibility for some of the posts that were made in public groups."
Hemsley said in a text to NBC New York that not all of the posts are his, and that those he did post were from years ago before he was elected. He said that he looks forward to an independent investigation, that the posts do not reflect who he is today and that he has been trying to right these wrongs.