CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin on Wednesday penned an apology letter in response to a petition calling for his resignation, following his perceived association with a rally held by a “divisive” group over the weekend.
In the letter, Griffin explained that he initially agreed to speak at the rally — which was held by what the petition describes as an alt-right group — under false pretenses, believing that the rally was in opposition to a recent proposed tax raise by the City of Charleston.
Being an outspoken critic of the resolution to increase taxes, Griffin agreed, and the group began circulating fliers with Griffin’s picture — without his permission (although he acknowledged that his City Council headshot is publicly available.)
As the “theme of the event had changed significantly,” Griffin withdrew from speaking at the event, deciding that the “event was not something [he] supported in any fashion.” He also tried to distance himself from the event, and get his photo removed from the fliers.
Griffin concedes several missteps over the last few weeks. The first being agreeing to speak at the rally “without properly vetting the event first,” as well as “getting caught up in the moment” during his appearance on a livestream:
“I need to always realize and understand that my role of City Councilman means that my words carry added meaning. Even though my intentions were to be cordial and polite, my intensity from the discussion on the potential tax increases influenced my word choice. I used words like ‘good person’ or ‘friend’ and it created hostile feelings when viewed by members of the community.”
Griffin apologized to constituents, the city, and City Council members.
He emphasized that he does not support, nor does he have any affiliation with the Proud Boys and that he is “NOT A WHITE SURPEMACIST AND [DOES] NOT SUPPORT WHITE SUPREMACY.” He said that he supports “a diverse, unique, and inclusive Charleston” and that he is “willing to roll up [his] sleeves and do the work necessary to make Charleston the best it has ever been.”
Griffin concluded by listing accomplishments of which he is proud, and promising to use the rest of his time in government to better Charleston.