A South Dakota state representative has apologized after posting a meme on Facebook that showed a cartoon car ramming into stick figures and the words “All Lives Splatter,” the Rapid City Journal reported.
Republican Rep. Lynne DiSanto shared the image on Sept. 7 in an apparent play on “All Lives Matter,” a slogan used in resistance of the Black Lives Matter movement. The image also read: “Nobody cares about your protests. Keep your ass out of the road.”
Below the post, DiSanto also commented, “I think this is a movement we can all support,” according to the Argus Leader.
The meme draws parallels to white supremacist counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer died after a man rammed his car into a crowd of people. In fact, it looks similar to others shared in white supremacist chatrooms before and after the Charlottesville riots.
Though DiSanto deleted the post on Tuesday, the image circulated for days online, prompting the state’s Democratic Party to call for an apology. “The right to peaceably assemble is fundamental to our democracy – so fundamental, in fact, it is included in the First Amendment to our Constitution,” the press release read. “Even though she removed the image from her Facebook page, she still owes the people of South Dakota an apology.”
The next morning, DiSanto showed her remorse when speaking to a local publication.
“I am sorry if people took offense to it and perceived my message in any way insinuating support or condoning people being hit by cars,” DiSanto told the Rapid City Journal. “I perceived it differently. I perceived it as encouraging people to stay out of the street.”
DiSanto has also reportedly lost her job at a local realty firm, although South Dakota House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, also a Republican, said DiSanto will still serve her position as majority whip during the next legislative session.
“I don’t think that will have an impact,” Qualm told the Leader. “Obviously, I think she wishes she had not put it out there, but she was quick to pull it down and it seems like one of those things you do without putting much thought into it.”
DiSanto and the South Dakota Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.
But DiSanto’s not the first official to draw condemnation over the meme. The sheriff’s office in Chelan County, Washington, is investigating an employee who accidentally shared the same “All Lives Splatter” post — from a right-wing memes Facebook page called “Libtards; ya gotta love ’em!” — on the office’s emergency management Facebook page.
South Dakota hasn’t joined North Dakota and the other states considering bills that would protect drivers who hit protesters with cars. But DiSanto did vote yes on legislation South Dakota approved in March that restricts the ability to assemble on highways and public lands, after protests over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.