© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Ohio Arts Council Member Resigns After Offensive Post Supporting Insurrection

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Shafkat Anowar
/
AP
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

A member of the Ohio Arts Council has resigned after an inflammatory Facebook post in which she expressed support for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and used a slur to describe Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Susan Allan Block is the wife of the chairman of Block Communications Inc., which owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade in Toledo, as well as numerous TV stations.

In an all-caps Facebook post Thursday, Block wrote that Trump supporters won’t unite behind President-elect Joe Biden, who she falsely referred to as "illegitimate," and called Harris a "whore VP."

"NO PEACE! NO UNITY! NO CONCESSION! NO LEGITIMACY TO A STOLEN ELECTION! THERE ARE 70 MILLION TRUMP SUPPORTERS WHO WILL NOT FALL IN LINE," Block wrote.

Block was renamed by DeWine the Ohio Arts Council board in 2019, after being appointed by former Gov. John Kasich in 2016. Her term was not set to expire until 2024.

"Today I accepted the resignation of Susan Allan Block from the Ohio Arts Council," Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement Friday.

In a letter obtained by the Statehouse News Bureau, Block said she’d been asked by DeWine to resign, blamed what she called cancel culture, referred to DeWine as a Republican in quotes and suggested his COVID policies could cost him re-election.

A screenshot of Susan Allan Block's Facebook post.
Credit Statehouse News Bureau
A screenshot of Susan Allan Block's Facebook post.

The Ohio Arts Council's executive director Donna Collins said in a statement: "As I shared yesterday, agency staff does not comment on the personal opinions of its sitting board members. However, Susan is no longer on the board, so let me now say this. Our agency does not condone or endorse these inflammatory opinions in any way, and we will continue to work in alignment with our shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity."

Block's removal had been demanded by arts groups including the Columbus Museum of Art and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

"Incendiary hate speech… cannot be tolerated in Ohio, let alone by a high-ranking government appointee," GCAC president Tom Katzenmeyer wrote in a letter to DeWine on Friday.

Jai Chabria, Kasich’s head of state personnel, says that resignation was the quickest course of action.

“Unless a member commits an ethics violation, and then they can be removed with advice and consent of the Senate, it is very difficult to remove a member of a board or commission of the state," Chabria said.

Block Communications issued a statement that her social media posts don’t represent those of the company.