A Turlock woman who posted inflammatory comments on Facebook about President Barack Obama has been fired from her job and reported to the U.S. Secret Service.
Turlock resident Denise Helms, 22, posted shortly after the president’s re-election Tuesday on her Facebook page, "And another 4 years of the (n-----). Maybe he will get assassinated this term..!!”
The post quickly made the rounds on social media, prompting Sacramento TV station Fox 40 to interview her about her comments Wednesday night.
She told the Fox 40 reporter: “I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. The assassination part is kind of harsh. I’m not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don’t think I’d care one bit.”
Helms has since deleted the post and posted again about the incident. It reads: “So apparently my post last night about Obama got onto Twitter and Fox 40 came and interviewed me cause apparently a lot of people in Sacramento think I’m crazy and racist. WOW is all I got to say!! I’m not racist and I’m not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!”
But the incident and surrounding outrage caused her to lose her job at Cold Stone Creamery, where she had worked for less than a year. Turlock Cold Stone Creamery Store Director Chris Kegle said he was shocked to read her racist slur and see her accompanying interview.
“We found her comments to be very disgusting and they do not reflect our opinions here,” Kegle said. “We never saw anything from her at work like those comments.”
He said when he arrived at the store on Monte Vista Avenue on Thursday, there were more than 20 angry voice mails about Helms.
“We made the decision because of her comments, but also the community feedback,” he said. “We are very into working with the community and doing community service. So when your community does not like you because of an employee, that’s bad. We have a business to run.”
Helms has also caught the attention of the Secret Service. Agent Scott Gillingham from the Sacramento office said while he was not familiar with Helms’ case specifically, he would check out her posting and the Fox 40 report. He said threats against the president are a felony under U.S. Code Section 871.
It reads: “Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
Gillingham said his office would be assigned to review any report from Turlock, but he would not comment further on any possible investigation into her posting. “We get a lot of these kinds of referrals, especially off of the Internet,” he said.
Helms graduated from Placer High in 2008, according to her Facebook page, and has the Romney/Ryan 2012 page among her likes. She is not listed as a registered voter in the state registry database.
Helms could not be reached for comment by The Bee. She told Fox 40 she wasn’t aware she could be investigated by the Secret Service for her post.
“OK, but what did I do wrong? That’s fine if they want to,” she told the reporter. “But I don’t understand what I did wrong.”
Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209)