DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Decatur City Councilman Hunter Pepper is in hot water once again and constituents in his district say they have had enough of the controversy that surrounds him.
His reaction to a social media post has been described as irresponsible and an embarrassment to the city.
Pepper angered voters after he responded with a laughing emoji in reaction to a Facebook post regarding a man facing sexual assault charges. The response follows a string of what people called “unusual acts of behavior by a sitting councilman.”
After the post, Pepper reportedly chose to block those who were asking for an explanation of the emoji. At Monday’s regular city council meeting, citizens were asking him to step down.
Previous reporting from Tuesday night at 10 p.m.
“When a public official blocks critic from a page they violate the constitution and therefore they cannot block anyone or remove the action of anyone simply because they disagree,” said a speaker during the public comments at city hall. “They would publicly ridicule or embarrass the city and it’s a habitual neglect of duty. He’s guilty of all of these things and Decatur simply deserves better.”
Although sensitive, Pepper responded to News 19 by saying he did not believe the post was as big of a deal as it was made out to be. He says people responding to his action are trying to get attention.
Previous reporting from Tuesday, 9 p.m.
“This entire administration really needs to take a step back and evaluate how are they presenting themselves out to their constituents because social media posts never go away,” said Andrea Hoffimeier, whose organization 1Duck OneDecatur United Citizens Kaizen has called out Decatur city leaders on their lack of responsibility.
Pepper made a Facebook post on Tuesday night, laying out his emotions and defending his side.
The Facebook post read, “Over this past weekend (I said I wasn’t going to make a post but here I am…. I should probably stay off this crap but here we are), [a local media outlet] posted an article regarding something in a separate country. I thought it was HILARIOUS that our local media agencies report on things that have NOTHING TO DO with our great state/community.”
Pepper continued, “After this was done a certain “Woke Liberal” stated it affected them personally (I’m sure it’s a “they/them-Non Binary”) and took it to another level gaining their ten minutes of fame… which they in fact got.”
The post continues for several paragraphs. You can view his entire post here.
This isn’t the first time that Councilman Pepper has used social media for an untimely response. Two years ago, fellow councilman Billy Jackson asked Pepper to resign after a racially insensitive post. In July, a public exchange with Mayor Tab Bowling made headlines with the mayor calling out Pepper for missing numerous meetings. Also in 2022, Pepper had an alleged run-in with Decatur Police over a fireworks issue.
“Mr. Pepper just needs to think about the fact that he is representing the city of Decatur,” Bowling explained. “I’ve made mistakes over the past seven years, and I’ve learned that our residents are good to forgive if we’re sincere and asking for their forgiveness for not continuing on doing the same things over and over again, so hopefully he can learn from that.”
Pepper did respond to News 19 request for comment by apologizing and that he is open to a conversation about his latest post.