The Republican National Convention has showcased the party’s brightest stars this week, but it also has spotlighted the country’s lingering racial tensions as the site of several ugly incidents.
On Tuesday, the first full day of activities after a delay caused by Hurricane Isaac, two convention-goers were removed from the Tampa Bay Times Forum after they threw nuts at a black CNN camerawoman and said, “This is how we feed animals.”
Later in the day, Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief David Chalian was caught on an open microphone during a convention webcast saying Mitt Romney and the GOP “are happy to have a party with black people drowning” -- an apparent reference to Republicans’ decision to continue with convention festivities while the storm hit New Orleans.
And after Mia Love -- the African-American mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah and a House candidate from that state -- delivered a convention speech on Tuesday, her Wikipedia page was vandalized overnight with racial slurs.
Love has not commented on the Wikipedia hacking.
CNN has been similarly quiet about the taunting of one of its camera operators.
“CNN can confirm there was an incident directed at an employee inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum earlier this afternoon,” the network said in a statement on Tuesday. “CNN worked with convention officials to address this matter and will have no further comment.”
Convention officials issued a separate statement: “Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior. Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”
Police and convention officials have not released the names of the people who were ejected from the arena, and it is not clear whether they were delegates or were attending the convention in another capacity.
Yahoo! moved quickly after Chalian’s remark, firing the veteran journalist on Wednesday.
“David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!” the company said in a statement. “He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended.”
“I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke,” Chalian, the former political director of ABC News, wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page. “I was commenting on the challenge of staging a convention during a hurricane and about campaign optics. I have apologized to the Romney campaign, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Gov. and Mrs. Romney.”