FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CONTACT: Laura Boyer | Alliance for a Better Utah | 801.792.8776

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Salt Lake City, UT –  Steve Smith, a Sandy City councilman currently running for reelection, is finding himself in hot water for a series of controversial comments he made on his personal Facebook page.

The Alliance for a Better Utah, a good-government watchdog group, discovered that in 2013, Councilmember Steve Smith publicly posted and commented on Facebook in response to the controversial killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. The group says Smith’s comments “appear to be inappropriate at the least, and made with racist undercurrent at the worst.”

In his Facebook comments, Smith made statements regarding the African American community in such terms as: “Many of the problems in the black community are a result of black culture” and “young black men will not change how they are perceived until they change how they behave.” He said that African Americans “view the solutions to these problems (education, marital stability, a work ethic) as in-authentically black — too white.” Smith then claimed that protests over the treatment of the African American community are "manufactured and intended to blame whites (again) for every conceivable black problem."

Laura Boyer, a policy and advocacy fellow at the Alliance for a Better Utah, responded to these statements saying, “Smith’s comments invalidate an entire group of people and promote an elitist attitude that white Americans have a stronger work ethic than black Americans. How can he effectively represent his community if he has contempt for members within it?”

Seeking to bring attention to these incendiary comments, Better Utah has launched a petition asking Councilman Smith to retract his statements, take them down, and apologize for the posts. The group also takes aim at those who have endorsed Smith in his reelection bid, including Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, asking them to denounce the statements.

“Elected officials represent all individuals within their community, regardless of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation” said Josh Kanter, Better Utah’s founder and board chair. “Public officials must be held accountable for making or endorsing such offensive and completely inappropriate rhetoric such as these comments made by Councilman Smith. It is up to the voters of Sandy City to decide if these comments from Mr. Smith align with their their values as he stands for reelection next month.”  

The petition can be signed by clicking here. Screenshots of the Facebook posts and comments are attached.