Rod Osborne at an interview with the Rappahannock News, Aug. 30 at Skyward Cafe in Flint Hill, Va.

Rappahannock County School Board candidate Rod Osborne, who is challenging incumbent Larry Grove in the Stonewall-Hawthorne District, apologized Tuesday for vulgar posts made on Facebook last year.

The posts, highlighted on Facebook by Washington resident Michael DiLello, were made by Osborne, a Castleton resident and recently retired Prince William County detention center worker, in December 2020 in community Facebook group “Rapp Uncensored” where he replied in a comments thread using homopobic slurs.

In the exchange, Osborne called a male user anti-gay slurs after the man asked if others in the group were “turned on” by an image of an altered magazine cover, shared by the school board candidate, depicting President Joe Biden as a child suckling on former President Barack Obama.

“During a heated exchange I regrettably used language that is not in my character. Conveniently, some of the offending comments towards me leading up to some of these exchanges are missing,” Osborne wrote in a statement to the Rappahannock News when asked for comment on his posts. “It is difficult to get the full context of these exchanges and sad that some are trying to exploit them. I apologize to anyone who may be offended by comments. Those who know me and have met me know my true character.”

Later in the comments thread, Osborne replied to the user saying, “The fact that you can look at this [image] and even remotely consider asking that question makes me really wonder about you.”

The user responded, saying, “don’t worry too hard!! Don’t want you hurting yourself sweetie.” Osborne replied: “The fact that you refer to another man as sweetie answers almost everything I need to know about your first comment. [anti-gay expletive].” Osborne and the user continued the exchange, where the school board candidate in a reply wrote another anti-gay slur.

Osborne said in the statement that he joined the Facebook group last year and was a member for about two months before he “quickly learned it was a political debate page where many posted satirical memes and discussions often turned ugly.” Grove declined to comment on Osborne’s posts.


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