Weaverville – Several citizens have responded to, both by email and Facebook posts, Weaverville Councilwoman Michele Wood’s Facebook post about the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The Tribune reported the post on its front page (June 30th, 2022).
Weaverville Town Councilwoman Michele Wood posted on her Facebook page on June 24th the following: “I would like all the women in my life to stop for a minute, take a long, deep breath, and burn everything to the f*cking the ground.” The post was made after the high court released its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In the June 30th issue, the Tribune asked Wood if she could “please clarify this post of yours for us.” We asked, “Is this in response to Roe v. Wade being overturned?” Is this a call for violence? Were you making this statement as a private citizen or as a statement as a council member or both?” We also asked, “If this was a call to violence, and if so, did that include inside the Town of Weaverville, in which you govern?”
Wood responded with this statement: “The post on my personal Facebook relevant to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a personal expression of my sadness and outrage over the removal of what has been a constitutional right and personal choice for women for over half a century. I mourn the hardship it will cause so many. In response to your questions, my post simply expressed my anger and frustration over this setback, and I do not advocate violence of any kind, either on my own or in my role as a Weaverville council member.”
Several who commented on the post were ready to take action. “I’ll help,” commented Claire Ritzler. “I’ve got matches,” stated Marianne Wood. “I’m in… burn baby burn…” replied Monnett Arambula. Even Weaverville Town Attorney Jennifer Jackson gave Wood’s post a “thumbs up” and Buncombe County Commissioner Amanda Edwards gave it a “heart.”
Citizens react to Wood’s post
Now, after the report was published, the Tribune has obtained an email from the town from Thomas J. Gianni of Weaverville, who emailed Wood saying:
As a taxpaying citizen of the Town of Weaverville, I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the posting you made on your Facebook page regarding the recent Supreme Court decision. Although the posting may have been an expression of personal feelings and not an official comment per se, and although I personally agree with your stance, the words you used were imprudent, irresponsible, and ill-advised. What were you suggesting people burn down… a pile of leaves?In today’s society, it doesn’t take much to set off a firestorm of violence, and your comments were nothing less than inflammatory. How many others have posted personal comments on their Facebook page only to find themselves in a position where they were censored or were forced to resign?
I find your comments (and the supportive, seemingly condoning, posts by both the town’s attorney and a Buncombe County Commissioner) to be unacceptable. I’d surely like to think that our local elected officials are a little more astute and discerning. In your position of public authority, you shouldn’t need to be reminded that the microphone is always on.
Thomas J Gianni
The Tribune also received several comments on our Facebook page about Wood’s post. They read as follows:
Martha Haynie: “People of Weaverville, y’all need to vote her out. People like her are destroying Weaverville just like they did in trashville.”
Susan Weese: “How disgusting for a woman in her position to incite violence! Businesses, churches, and medical facilities now have to have extra protection because of people like her!”
Daniel Belisle: “Although she has deleted this post off of her Facebook, she still has to come out with a more sincere apology.”
Robby Wallen responded to Belisle’s post by saying, “I doubt she deleted it because she later left remorseful. Someone with a brain probably brought it to her attention that inciting violence or arson on social media (or anywhere else) is a serious criminal offense.”
Pat Cody said, “Can she be impeached? She should be.”
Martha Haynie commented, “People of Weaverville, yall need to vote her out. People like her are destroying Weaverville just like they did in trashville.”
Donna Jones Hensley posted, “Weaverville, do we want to become little Asheville? We will if you keep voting this in office. For or against abortion, know when she threatened to burn down homes and churches and businesses, as a private citizen how do I not know that she wasn’t wanting to burn my home down? Perhaps should I take this as communicating a threat and press charges?”
Robby Wallen also posted, “You can be charged with a felony for inciting arson. Will she remain a town council member?”
Wood has since taken her post down and replaced it with the following: Her post came with the note: “Edited to remove image and comments.”
“My post about the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a personal expression of my sadness and outrage over the removal of what has been a constitutional right and personal choice for women for over half a century. I mourn the hardship it will cause for so many. I was expressing my anger and frustration over this setback, and I do not advocate violence of any kind, either on my own or in my role as a council member.”
Wood also limits who can comment on her new post. The post is similar to the comment she gave the Tribune.