Business owner on controversial comment: “I have wounded the community”

‘I failed to realize the hurtful impact my words could and did have.’

Greg McAfee, president of McAfee Heating & Air, issued a statement Monday in response to local institutions and business which have suspended or cut ties with him after his recent comment on Facebook regarding the death of George Floyd in police custody.

“This is an emotionally and painful time for our country, and my divisive words, on social media, have only added to this pain, and for that, I am truly sorry,” McAfee said in a prepared statement released Monday.

Dayton Children’s Hospital and the University of Dayton in Facebook posts of their own said they suspended partnerships with McAfee because of his recent comments.

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WHIO TV, WHIO Radio and TV station WDTN all said they have suspended advertising by McAfee. McAfee has no advertising placed with the Dayton Daily News, a company spokesperson said.

In a Facebook post, McAfee posted a statement a week ago: “Wake up America, George Floyd’s death was totally planned out!!”

The post has since been deleted. McAfee’s personal Facebook account has been terminated or placed on hiatus. But some social media users screen-saved and shared the comment.

In his new statement on Monday, McAfee said: “In the aftermath of recent events, I made comments on social media that were written out of frustration and ignorance that leave me with much regret. The intent of my post was to communicate a concern that the dozens of simultaneous riots and events causing harm to our great American cities and communities following the tragic murder of George Floyd seemed orchestrated and planned.

“However, as a group friends met with me, many (of whom) are African American, I now understand the depth and desire for real change and that desire for change should not only reside in the black community,” McAfee also said. “As I tried to express my feelings on my post, I failed to realize the hurtful impact my words could and did have.”

McAfee said that initially, he did not know what to do.

“I removed my posts and turned off Facebook,” he said. “Even though some of what was copied was taken out of context, I still realize why my comments were hurtful. Please know, that in no way do I believe that the horrific murder of Mr. Floyd was planned.

“To the Dayton community, I am sorry for what I said,” he added. “I take full responsibility for my choice of words and I offer my sincere apologies to everyone who was angered, saddened, and perhaps the hardest for me, let down by my actions. I ask for your forgiveness. I am seeking guidance to understand ways to avoid being insensitive to others.”

McAfee said further that he supports “the peaceful protests taking place around our country and right here in the Miami Valley. I hope my actions going forward become part of the solution. I know that with the help of my family and friends, and the support of the community, I can and will do better. I’m not asking for you to give me your trust but I’m asking for the opportunity to earn it.”

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