GOP Rep. Collins responds to criticism of Ole Miss post

Rep. Mike Collins (R-Ga.) defended his decision to share a video of counterprotesters at the University of Mississippi harassing a Black woman at a pro-Palestinian protest last week, responding to criticism that he was endorsing racist conduct.

Collins shared a video last week of a group of white men standing across from a lone Black woman participating in the protest, with the men dancing, hooting and chanting. One man mimicked a monkey.

Ole Miss opened a conduct investigation Saturday into the incident, with Chancellor Glenn Boyce saying the counterprotesters’ chants and actions Thursday contained “hostility and racist overtones.”

“I understand and respect the feedback that’s been shared regarding a single individual during the Ole Miss protests,” Collins wrote in a statement Monday. “If that person is found to have treated another human being improperly because of their race, they should be punished appropriately, and will hopefully seek forgiveness.”

“Frankly, I did not believe that to be the focal point of the video shared at the time, but I recognize that there certainly seems to be some potentially inappropriate behavior that none of us should see to glorify,” he continued.

The NAACP demanded the House Ethics Committee launch an investigation into Collins after the post Saturday.

“Black America refuses to accept blatant racism from any representative sworn to uphold our constitution,” NAACP spokesperson Alicia Mercedes said in a statement to The Hill. “Representative Collins’ decision to publicly condone, and perhaps even celebrate these racist taunts is not only shameful, but also reprehensible.”

In his statement Monday, Collins doubled down on his opposition to the widespread campus protests, calling the students “pro-Hamas, anti-American, Antifa anarchists.”

The pro-Palestinian protesters at Ole Miss were significantly outnumbered by counterprotesters, as the campus demonstrations spread to hundreds of colleges across the country in recent weeks.

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