An employee at a local software company was terminated after a social media firestorm identified him as the person who posted a racist meme showing former president Barack Obama with a noose around his neck.
Screenshots shared on social media this weekend allege that the image was posted by Gary Casper, identified as vice president for information technology at Chattanooga-based Transcard.
Images of Casper's apparent posting were widely shared on social media. Casper's Facebook page was taken down or made unsearchable so the Times Free Press could not independently verify the post.
The picture of Obama, the first African American president in U.S. history, includes the caption "#PayPerView." Casper's Facebook profile listed his position as vice president of IT at the software company, as well as previous IT roles at US Xpress, according to the screen grabs. Threatening to harm or kill a former president is considered a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison.
On Sunday afternoon, Transcard president Chris Fuller emailed the Times Free Press saying the company does not allow its employees to make political statements on social media.
"As soon as Transcard realized that an employee was utilizing social media to engage in political speech, it took immediate action to terminate its relationship with such person," Fuller wrote in the email.
Earlier on Sunday, Transcard posted to Facebook that "views reflected in posts made by individuals do not reflect the views or values of Transcard."
The Transcard Facebook page where the announcement was posted has been largely inactive, but is the one linked from the company's web page. Other employees' social media accounts, including the Twitter pages of Transcard's CEO and president, also appear to have been recently deleted. So has the company's main Twitter account.
Earlier attempts by phone to reach Transcard were unsuccessful because the company's telephone system was "temporarily unavailable," according to the recorded message.
The third-party payment account software company has promoted young professionals events in the city and was the first sponsor of the Chattanooga Red Wolves. In 2018, the company was expanding from 60 employees to between 90 and 100, and had around 1,800 clients, according to Times Free Press reporting at the time.