An Alabama man who referred to residents of Gatlinburg as “mouth-breathing, toothless, Trump-suckin’ pond scum” in the wake of last week’s deadly wildfires has lost his job and been targeted by social media users as a possible suspect in the blaze.
On Nov. 29, Coleman Bonner of Wessington in Chilton County posted a message to his personal Facebook page in regards to the wildfires in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevier County, Tennessee.
“Funny story. I was recently in Gatlinburg. Had a terrible time. I felt the place was a cesspool of consumerism and a bastion of the worst aspect of southern culture. Turns out a wildfire just burned most of the town to the ground. Good riddance, Gatlinburg. And good luck you mouth-breathing, toothless, diabetic, cousin-humpin,’ mountain-dew chugging, moon-pie-munchin,’ pall-mall smoking,’, Trump-suckin’ pond scum. (Chuckles and smiles like the smarmy liberal elitist I am,” Bonner wrote.
The post came just days after as many as 14,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg and the surrounding area after a wildfire on the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s Chimneys Top 2 Trail spread into the tourist town. As many as 17,000 acres have burned, 1,700 structures have been damaged or destroyed and 14 people have died as a result of the blaze.
Shortly after his post, Bonner’s employer, Express Oil Change and Tire Engineers, began receiving messages about the statements.
Express Oil Change said after “fully and thoroughly” investigating the situation, Coleman is no longer employed with the Birmingham-based company.
“We are absolutely disgusted at what was posted, and want to emphasize that a person of this character does not represent who we are as a company. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the fires throughout the East Tennessee region, along with communities that were affected throughout the Southeast due to the recent drought,” the company said in a written statement.
“We want to offer our sincerest apologies that remarks like this were made, and we were astonished at the lack of care Coleman expressed throughout his comments.”
A spokesperson for Express Oil Change could not confirm the location where Bonner was employed.
Efforts to reach Bonner were unsuccessful. His Facebook and Twitter profiles have since been deleted.