AMHERST, Ohio - A local city council candidate is under fire for a social media post that even he admits was a mistake. It involved a viral photo showing a rescuer posing with gorillas he saved from poachers. The candidate said it would make a good album cover for a rapper and that rubbed people the wrong way.
David Kovacs said entered the council race as a Democratic candidate for City Council Ward Four at the urging of his wife.
"In 2016 we had an election -- and I was always interested in politics -- that election kind of frustrated me a little bit and it got me interested in saying 'Maybe I should get involved and do something instead of just Tweeting and Facebooking stuff. Maybe I should get out there and talk to my neighbors and get involved,'" said Kovacs.
Kovacs said he made a post on his social media accounts that, at the time, he never thought of at as insensitive, however others have since seen it as offensive.
Here's the post:
"So on Saturday, I'm sitting at home and I'm going through Facebook or Twitter, I don't remember which one and I was like 'Oh ,that is like a cool picture. I'm like 'If I could Photoshop myself in that picture, that would be a great hip hop cover' and so I sent it out,"said Kovacs.
Above the post Kovacs messaged "to all local rappers, I found your album cover."
Kovacs said it has become a trend for rappers to use photos of 'posing' animals on their album covers and it never entered his mind that it would have racial overtones.
"I sent the post without thinking that 'Hey, you are getting into politics now, Dave. Everybody is going to be looking at you a little bit differently.' It definitely wasn't the best decision I have ever made in my life," he said.
In the days that followed some who have seen the post have attacked Kovacs on social media, calling him racist.
Although Kovacs said one family member removed his campaign sign from their yard, his friends and supporters have overwhelming come to his defense as someone who is not and has never been the least bit racist.
"The reaction has been overwhelming on both aspects. The negative because I never have had people talk to me like that. I've been called a supremacist, which besides being called a child molester, being called a supremacist or a racist is the worst thing, in my opinion, that someone can be called," said Kovacs.
Even with the heat he is taking because of the post, Kovacs said he did not remove it from his social media account.
"Taking it down would have been running from it. Taking it down would have been a mistake and like I'm fully aware of that and admitting it was a mistake. I made a mistake and there's nothing I can do about it so I'm here, I'm talking to you. I could have closed the door on you or hung up on the newspaper people. I'm sitting here to tell people 'If I hurt anybody I sincerely apologize for that,'" he added.
Kovacs said he is willing to "take his medicine" over the post but is humbled by those who have come to his side and he still hopes to be able to make a difference.
"The way I look at work is, you are never going to have enough money, so I kind of look for jobs that are going to make me feel better about myself at the end of the day, and feel like I made a difference in somebody's life, and hopefully, I think that if one person can do that and help one person then that person can do that and it kind of spreads out from there."