EMU Student Sen. Reid Scott may be asked to resign from the EMU Student Senate, or face removal, because of an eight year old Facebook picture depicting Scott in black-face, according to a source familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous.
Speaker of the Senate, Taylor Lawrence, released a statement via email to the Echo. Parliamentarian Jack Swartzinski stood by this statement and identified it as “the official stance of the Senate Leadership,”
“While I cannot confirm that [the Senate Leadership] plan[s] on asking Sen. Reid Scott to resign, I can say I am aware of [the Facebook post] and have made the necessary individuals aware of the matter as well. The Student Body Senate is taking this very seriously and are investigating this matter.” Lawrence stated.
The Facebook post in question was posted as a profile picture for Scott’s profile in September 2011. The same photo was originally posted by another person with Scott tagged as well as several other people. The photo pictures Scott unconscious on a floor in black-face. Due to the sensitive nature of the Facebook post, we have not provided it in our print version. For some viewers, the content may be offensive or inappropriate. To view the photos on the online edition, click the arrows on the gallery at the top of the page.
Scott also reported no members of student government have confronted him about resigning. Although Scott stated that former student government member and former Chairperson of the Ypsilanti Human Relations Commission, Sam Jones-Darling, messaged him asking that he resign, referencing the Facebook post described.
“He randomly messaged me and was like ‘You need to resign,’” Scott said.
In a statement, Jones-Darling said, “During my tenure on the EMU Student Senate I served alongside Mr. Scott. At every turn he was disrespectful of the diversity that Eastern and Ypsilanti have, making several negative comments regarding race, harassing female colleagues, and generally disregarding the integrity that his office deserves.”
He continued, saying, “On the 27th of February I was made aware of a photo of Mr. Scott in what appeared to be blackface. There is no excuse for black-face, nor the comments Mr. Scott made on Facebook about it. Racism as it has been displayed by Student Sen. Reid Scott has no place at Eastern Michigan University or in modern America. He should resign, apologize and reflect upon his poor behavior.”
“I passed out drunk at a party and people colored all over my face,“ Scott said. "There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not like I put blackface on myself and was like ‘Look at me.’ If you look at the picture you can tell I’m actually, like, borderline comatose. I was that drunk, I really was. That was a really bad part of my life."
Scott also addressed comments associated with the post. Specifically, one in which he commented, “I do a pretty good black face don’t I?”
“I know that the comments and stuff aren’t great. The one lady, her name is Anna - I don’t know if that’s her Facebook name still - is a friend of mine from high school and she is biracial. So it’s not like I just have some, you know, ‘milk-white’ friend who is saying those things. My comment obviously, not the greatest thing, ‘I do a pretty good black face don’t I?’ I mean it’s not great especially with the outrage culture we’re in right now, but again, I made a mistake, and again though with the black-face, it’s not like I put it on [myself],” said Scott.
The name “Anna” was not visible on the comment section of the post.
“My comment was stupid, looking back on it,” Scott also added later.
Scott frequently mentioned "outrage culture" in an interview with the Echo. He also stated via text message, "I’m on purpose having my character attacked, even though I’ve shown great character and displayed that I’m a great man who carries the responsibilities well. It’s very sad that this is where outrage culture has taken things, and I will not bow down to it. I will never bow down to outrage culture "
Scott stated he was not aware the photo was still visible on his profile. In an interview with the Echo, Scott initially stated he himself did not post the photo. He continued that it was not him who posted the photo, referencing the photo he was tagged in as the only time the picture was posted. Although once shown a screenshot of the picture as a former profile picture, Scott added another statement via text message.
“I obviously did post it myself, I must’ve misspoke and forgot. I did post it myself. I have no problem admitting that…” Scott stated. “And I made a mistake for making that my profile picture. I really shouldn’t have done that given the bad time in my life I was in then. But yeah, I got radical ink poisoning from it as I’m sure you could tell. That’s a lot of sharpie to be sitting on my skin like it did.”
If asked to leave, Scott does not plan to resign. He also believes someone “dug all this up for the purpose of trying to oust” him and remove him from the Senate in wake of his announcement for his candidacy for president.
“I apologize and I’m not going to sit here and sidestep. I’m very known for taking responsibility for things . . . if I was a bleeding heart Bernie Sanders lover and they dug up that picture. People would be like ‘Oh well he was passed out drunk, he couldn’t do anything about it’ but no. I’m a very bold, conservative Trump-supporter, so we have double standards and that’s very obvious . . . I will be open book as hell about this I will not be a child and try and sidestep and deny this because that’s just bad and that shows bad character,” added Scott.
Scott also added a final statement via text message.
“Wanting me to resign over something 9 years old is wanting me to be a prisoner of my past. It’s asking me to stay mentally stunted in that part of my life. And I will never do that, I’m an adult, I will never do that. I’ve overcome so much, I will not stop doing so,” said Scott.
The Echo will release updates on this story as they happen.
Note: The Echo’s Assistant News Editor Dan D’Introno previously considered and collected signatures to run with Sen. Reid Scott for Student Body President, though the campaign was dropped due to ideological differences and a conflict of interest with the Echo. Due to D’Introno’s connections to Scott, he had no part in the production of this story. It is not clear how the post was brought to the attention of Senate leadership, but it is important to note that it was visible on Scott’s profile at any time.