Stacey Evans, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Georgia governor race, was criticized this week for a political ad that concludes with an image of Martin Luther King, Jr., superimposed over her face.
Some members of the black community took offense to the image, saying it implied Evans was trying to link herself with the iconic civil rights leader. The ad was partly film during the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. ecumenical service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which is King's pastoral home. Church leaders rebuked the ad and said Evans did not seek permission to film inside their building, WXIA-TV reported.
Church leaders also called for the removal the video, and Evans' campaign office complied.
But the video hasn't completely gone away.
Did the political ad go viral?
The church issued a statement that read:
While it appears that the campaign did comply with our request, the ad has since gone viral and has created considerable conversation and questions on social media and in other public spaces. Ebenezer Baptist Church, in accordance with its 501 c(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service, cannot and does not endorse political candidates.
The controversy is part of a racially divisive race between Evans and Stacey Abrams, who is black. Abrams is attempting to become the "nation's first black female governor in a state where Republicans hold every statewide elected office," WXIA reported.
How did Evans respond?
Evans' campaign office responded by saying she has publicly celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day "every year of her public life." The campaign also blamed Abrams for blowing the ad out of proportion, WXIA reported.
Evans served for seven years in the Georgia House and resigned her position to run for governor. She is also an attorney.
In a column on The Root, Jason Johnson wrote about Evans:
Bless her heart; she’s trying.
Can we just begin by pointing out that Stacey Evans, the 39-year-old white lawyer and former Georgia state representative running to be the Democratic nominee for governor, is TRYING HER BEST [insert clap emojis]? She’s trying in that way your sister-in-law from Minnesota tried to make cornbread last Thanksgiving. She’s trying in the way your high school teacher thought it would be cool to rap about fractions after he saw Freedom Writers.
It’s not Evans’ fault that her campaign may just be a stalking horse for white Georgia Democrats who fear a black gubernatorial nominee. It’s not her fault that she’s up against Stacey Abrams, who is running to be the first black female governor in America, who is a former legislator, lawyer and author who’s been praised on Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal and in Cosmopolitan and Glamour magazines.