City employee under fire after posting racist comment about Muslim model in burkini on Facebook

A city employee in Dearborn, Mich., is under investigation after making a racist comment aimed at a Muslim model on Facebook.

The comment, made by Bill Larion, was initially pointed out in a public group called Dearborn Area Community Members by a fellow resident. Larion’s comment was in response to a WXYZ Facebook post, which shared a story about model Halima Aden being the first to wear a burkini in the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

A City of Dearborn employee is under investigation after making a racist comment on Facebook. (Photo: WJBK)
A City of Dearborn employee is under investigation after making a racist comment on Facebook. (Photo: WJBK)

“Cute picture,” the since-deleted Facebook comment read, “should be on the cover of Camels are us.”

According to a statement from Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly dated May 6, Larion is a part-time employee for the City of Dearborn. And although his comment wasn’t posted during business hours, O’Reilly stated that the content is in opposition to the City’s mission statement.

“I have zero tolerance for the type of language used in the Facebook comment,” O’Reilly’s statement reads. “The comment violates the City of Dearborn’s values and practices, as well as our expectations for employees. It violates the very heart of our mission statement, which is that we must earn the public’s trust in everything we do.”

The city hasn’t shared any additional information about the Dearborn Police Department’s investigation, which started over the weekend. The statement says that the results will determine what action is taken.

Still, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Dearborn Officials to reprimand Larion on Monday, according to a statement from the organization.

“We call on Dearborn officials to reprimand this city employee who clearly holds such racist views while working for a city that has almost half of its population comprising of Arab-Americans and Muslims,” CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid said.

Yahoo Lifestyle was unable to get in touch with Larion. However, a number of Dearborn residents spoke with Michigan outlet WJBK and shared their thoughts on what will happen if Larion isn’t fired.

“The mayor will hear from us,” one said. “The city will hear from us.”

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