Jul 19 2015
07:57 am

Knox Co. Clerk Foster Arnett has either gone off the rails or someone has hacked his Facebook account. A reader says he posted a rant yesterday criticizing Obama, liberals and their "communist ideas" that are destroying our country and saying we need to turn back to God and also Ronald Reagan.

There's some similar content on his page this morning (see screen captures after the break).

bizgrrl's picture

Wow, scary. I hope Mr. Arnett

Wow, scary. I hope Mr. Arnett speaks up to let his constituents know if these are his feelings or if he has been hacked.

Turd Burglar's picture


You do realize, of course, that the sentiments of the public that surrounds you far more closely align with those postings above than anything on this nutty website, don't you ?

If those are his true feelings he'll gain 2% in the polls.

Somebody's picture

Yes, just as when Donald

Yes, just as when Donald Trump makes xenophobic and outrageous remarks, he goes up in the GOP polls. This is not something to be proud of.

WhitesCreek's picture

We need to pay attention to this kind of thing

It's very prevalent and saturates a large segment of the internet by pushing out rational discourse. I note that there's not one single issue mentioned that improves the lives of the working class. All of these things work to vilify segments of the "opposition". Republican operatives do the calculus every day and completely understand the segments of the electorate that make up their base. In order to serve, as W put it, "The Haves and the Have Mores" they need racists, evangelicals, and the down right chicken shit gun people. These are examples of how they keep them energized.

Average Guy's picture

Obama, liberals and their communist ideas

Why can't we just let poor people die if they can't afford care?

Why can't blacks stay on their side of the tracks and respect my southern heritage flags?

Why don't my chicken hawk memes work like my grandfathers actual service?

Why don't gays stay in the closet so they can become republican operatives against gay bills like they're supposed to do?

My country back indeed.

Factchecker's picture

What a fearful ignoramus

According to his worldview isn't he nothing more than a mindless bureaucrat, dependent on the government teat? Why doesn't he contribute something to the economy?

cafkia's picture

Just curious, does anyone

Just curious, does anyone know Mr. Arnett's military service specifics?

Average Guy's picture


My first thought.

mdonila's picture


It's so amusing when Republicans invoke Reagan. It's obvious they know nothing about him.

Rachel's picture

I'm going with hack. Stuff

I'm going with hack. Stuff is just too out there, and there's too much of it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I'm thinking "hacked," too. As long as Arnett has held office, I think we would have heard more of this kind of stuff from him, if he'd been inclined to spew it.

cari's picture

He's not the only one

Check out what the Chattanooga PUBLIC DEFENDER has to say:


Hildegard's picture

Unfortunately a lot of public

Unfortunately a lot of public defenders - esp many of those holding office - are more interested in political leveraging for themselves than they are in common justice and human rights.

Rachel's picture

I'm probably stupid, but

I'm probably stupid, but who's CPD?

Pam Strickland's picture

He may have been hacked, but

He may have been hacked, but let's remember that since same-sex marriage became legal he began requiring that all couples who want to be married by someone in the clerks office to make an appointment. If I recall, appointments are 24 hours in advance.

And last fall, an employee of his office denied a naturalized citizen renewal of her license because she did not have her passport and because she was in the wrong office. Nashville said that the clerk was wrong, but Arnett nonetheless backed her.

As far as I'm concerned, he's a jerk and he could have easily posted every one of those items.

Rachel's picture

Hmmm. A pretty reliable and

Hmmm. A pretty reliable and knowledgeable source tells me that Arnett's rants are probably real. Scary and sad.

Dahlia's picture

Someone needs to tell Foster

that Caitlin Jennerr is a Republican.

And pretty amusing that he puts up a quote with a misspelled word followed by another quote calling other's "stupid".

Dahlia's picture

Yeah, I know...

there's only one "r" in Jenner. I was just seeing if y'all were on your toes. ;)

Former Employee's picture

Not Surprising

I work for the Clerk's office and these comments are not surprising to me. Homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and intollerance of minority religions are rampant at the Clerk's offices. Those who speak up or show concern about these issues are seen as rocking the boat and are treated like the problem. I hope we are coming to the end of a long era of electing men like this as our public officials.

R. Neal's picture

Arnett's public FB page seems

Arnett's public FB page seems to be all tidied up this morning.

Min's picture

I never" lost" my country.

If you did, perhaps you're the problem.

Dahlia's picture

Thank you KnoxViews

for putting this out there. I't's good to see what kind of people our tax money is going to.

Arnett's behavior is inexcusable, imo. I saw on line where one of his chums was complaining about the libs attacking Foster's free speech rights by posting what he said on FB. Apparently it's a-okay for a public official being paid by the tax payers to call Obama supporters "stupid" and post hate speech but it's NOT okay for him to be called out on it?

If that is truly what he posted, he's shown complete unprofessionalism and despicable behavior. As a liberal, I'd never post hate speech like that, anywhere. I can only hope this makes other news, but it probably won't.

Rachel's picture

Unfortunately, nobody can

Unfortunately, nobody can fire Arnett. He doesn't work for Tim Burchett; he was elected. The only people who can fire him are the voters.

Somebody's picture

Has anyone bothered to check

Has anyone bothered to check in with Arnett to see what happened?

Rachel's picture

Seems to me that somebody

Seems to me that somebody from the press should follow up. I guess we'll see if that happens.

Hildegard's picture

Seeing as one of their top

Seeing as one of their top stories is about a gang of black men raping women 500 miles away in Detroit, I am not holding my breath that a story about a local politician's crazy rants against a religious minority, the president, and many of his constituents would meet their content standards.

Somebody's picture


This is why I lament the demise of "mainstream media" in favor of, well, this. For all practical purposes, this is the 21st Century water cooler, and that's fine. We all need a place to vent and speculate.

On the other hand a decently-run mainstream media outlet would see whatever it was that happened on F. Arnett's Facebook page and pick up the phone, ask him about it, and then report out. After all, this incident was a county-wide elected official appearing to make, to put it gently, indecorous political commentary. It would be in the public's interest to know if this public servant was truly making these comments, or if he was hacked. The standard for blogs and message boards is to share and speculate, and that's fine. I just wish we had a more robust old media that, while they might not always get the scoop, could be relied on to get the facts.

jbr's picture

Maybe the Knox Mercury will

Maybe the Knox Mercury will dig into it. They seem the most likely. They seem to have several good articles per issue. I would like to see what they come up with on it.

I haven't decided yet, but I think I like the Mercury more than the Metro Pulse. The only negatives so far are no "Ear to the Ground" I liked that, and the calendar format. Just seems to need something, but I can't put my finger on it. It is a little crammed together for me, makes it a little hard to read.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Section 8.05

He's subject to our local recall amendment. It would take 10% of registered voters signing a recall petition, which I think is around 20,000 sigs.

(If those posts are his, I don't like them either, but no, I'm not applying for any unpaid job to launch a recall effort. Neither did I look into when his term ends.)

Average Guy's picture

That this would be a problem

That this would be a problem with local voters is a nice notion, truth is, it would likely gain him two votes for every one he lost.

glostik's picture

I went down there...

Came down to the courthouse and they said Mr. Arnett was at the Cedar Bluff office, called the number they gave me and Susan told me he is on vacation. Went back in to ask why they didn't tell me that in the first place, they said they just found out. Seriously, I just want to have a respectful chat with him.

Elizabeth's picture


I don't doubt for a second that F. Arnett posted these things. I know someone from his office and can say that I'm not surprised. He should be ashamed of his words because as a public servant he should have more tact and nuance to his opinions and not spew such racist and homophobic filth. I hope the news picks upupn this.

AnonymousJ's picture

Yeah. He needs to point out

Yeah. He needs to point out how flouride in the water id diluting our purity of essence. It's time to wake up! Trump 2016!!!!

Sandra Clark's picture

Not quite clear on what

exactly the "mainstream media" are supposed to pick up on.

Can't imagine a Shopper-News story that says, "elected clerk rants (or maybe was hacked) on Facebook and we went to find out which it was."

Talk about a non-story.

Meanwhile, I've got a column coming out tomorrow in which Jim McIntyre confirms there will NOT be an opportunity for teachers in non-TAP schools to earn any performance-based incentives this year -- pulling $3.2 million out of the pockets and pocketbooks of teachers in Knox County. And I doubt the expectations and evaluations will diminish.

And this has not yet been discussed by the school board.

Guess this won't be a story until KNS or a TV station does a rewrite.

Somebody's picture

Non-story? Really?Never mind

Non-story? Really?

Never mind Donald Trump and his declaration that Mexican immigrants are mostly rapists, if the Sheriff declaring that he would stack hispanic immigrants "like cordwood" made national news, you would think that perhaps the County Clerk declaring that Muslims are all a bunch of "goat humpers" would be worthy of investigation by the Fourth Estate.

Look back at the first item captured at the top of this thread. Taken at face value, it would appear that an elected official was angry about 'political correctness,' and was agreeing with an image calling Muslims "goat humpers," and stridently asserting that he has the right to do the same. Maybe I've just become too dainty, but if this is Arnett's actual sentiment, that's horrifying, and it calls into question his ability to carry out his job.

So do you really think that this isn't a story? Even if he just meant to call some Muslims "goat humpers," it would be edifying to know who he thinks warrants that designation, and who does not, and why such commentary is appropriate for someone who holds public office. If he was hacked, then it also might be good if the general public can be reassured that these posts do not, in fact, reflect his opinions about a minority group living right here in this community.

SnM's picture

Well rebutted.

Well rebutted.

cafkia's picture

I'm going to have to agree.

I'm going to have to agree. Assuming there are Muslims locally that pay taxes, then he is disparaging those whom he is sworn to serve. That may not be a break in at the Watergate Hotel but I think the area Muslims as well as those of a more tolerant mindset might appreciate having such information when next it is time to elect such an official.

And of course, a politician complaining about political correctness deserves to be severely mocked.

Dahlia's picture


he holds a public office and he was allegedly slandering Muslims, gays and liberals on a social media forum.

Would you say this was a "non story" if he were a teacher and posting those things on his facebook page? I've seen much milder things posted by teachers that have made national news.

cg's picture

The Hamilton County Public

The Hamilton County Public Defender's upsetting/racist FB comments post-Chattanooga shooting were picked up by the Washington Post. Sure, Sandra, it's a non-story. And that's why you're editing a non-newspaper.

Dahlia's picture

If a teacher posted...

quotes that were anti-Christian, anti-Republican and promoting LGBT all at once, along with a rant defaming Reagan, she'd lose her job in a NY minute around here.

R. Neal's picture

And that's why you're editing

And that's why you're editing a non-newspaper.

Uh, a) she's the publisher, and b) her paper is still in business, unlike the one you worked for. So, cheap shot.

cg's picture


Her paper, like the one for which I was recently employed, is owned by formerly-Scripps-now-Journal. And they will be the next to go, as much as I hate it. (And I do, genuinely, hate it.) But if Sandra thinks elected county officials making racist FB posts isn't news, the paper will probably go under even faster.

ArtWagner's picture

Why was it a cheap shot?

A publisher of a newspaper states that an elected county official making racist, bigoted, political, and quasi-sexual comments on his social media page is "not news." Quite the contrary, I believe it IS news, because (if true, and it hasn't been denied) it is unsettling to everyone except those who hold extreme right wing views. If he did post them, it draws into question his qualifications to hold public office.

Of course, if it is "not news" to this newspaper publisher, then it follows that it is because she agrees with the tone and substance of the posts in question. That would, indeed, speak volumes about her views and her operation.

R. Neal's picture

A more reasoned response.

A more reasoned response.

Rachel's picture

WBIR did a short piece about

WBIR did a short piece about this on the 11 p.m. news. They specifically mentioned KnoxViews. They showed and read some of the FB postings, including one Randy didn't post here. Wonder where they got that one?

Said Arnett was out of town and they were unable to reach him for comment.

reform4's picture

Third possibility?

If, as some say, Foster holds these beliefs, but he removed them from his page (I assume with no statement that "I got hacked" on his FB page or to the media), then another possibility was he got in a mood and posted some stuff on FB that he really felt but normally wouldn't post... and then deleted it after thinking the better of it.

Just throwing that out there as a theory, I have nothing to support it, but it would seem to fit what happened.

Average Guy's picture

What you suggest is

What you suggest is plausible, but not an excuse.

Somebody's picture

Good for WBIR.

Good for WBIR. Their coverage is linked here. I saw it go by during their 10 p.m. broadcast, and this "non-story" was second or third from the top.

I hope they will follow up with Arnett whenever he returns. I would say I'm surprised that his office hasn't found him and gotten him to call in and respond or otherwise write a statement to clear this up, but maybe it's not surprising. If these weren't his posts, then his people are doing him a disservice by letting it hang out there unanswered. On the other hand if these are his sentiments, the fact that it hasn't (yet) gone viral means it would possibly be to his benefit if he stays away another week and everybody forgets to ask him about it. We know the Shopper isn't interested, but hopefully, WBIR will remember to check in with him when he's available to respond in person.

No Name's picture

Typical. I know some people

Typical. I know some people who work/have worked for Foster Arnett and I have NO doubt that was him from the horror stories I've heard. Now he can't be reached for comment because he's on vacation? Did he go somewhere without the internet??

Dahlia's picture

It was very gracious

of KnoxViews and so many posters here to give him the benefit of the doubt, though. Probably because we would never post such hateful things ourselves.

The comments on WBIR are pretty telling, however, of this sort of mindset because most of them are just angry that his FB remarks are being criticized. Funny how that 'right to free speech' thing only applies to ones they agree with. Foster can say any damn, hateful thing he wants, but God forbid anyone else say a word about it.

glostik's picture

When I went down there

Monday because I just wanted to talk to him about it. I went with a friend who also wanted to talk to him and we were told he was at the Cedar Bluff office. I asked if I could go ahead and make an appointment with him for another time while I was there. They said no and gave me a card and told me to call the other office. I went out in the hall and called ( it was the downtown office number that I had just walked out of) and the person on the phone told me he was on vacation. My friend decided to go back in and ask why they didn't tell us that in the first place and they said they just found out…seriously, 3-4 minutes after we walked out? So it was 4 in the afternoon before anyone knew he was on vacation? I don't know, maybe there is a simple explanation-it just seems weird to me.

Dahlia's picture

I commend you

for going to Arnett's office to ask him about this face to face. It's a shame he wasn't there to talk to you and even more shameful that his people weren't aware that he was on vacation. How could they not know that? Unbelievable.

xmd's picture

In my opinion, the longer he

In my opinion, the longer he waits to address this, the worse off he is going to be. Vacation or not, I bet he has contact with "his people". No excuse. Either deny or not.

Rachel's picture

KNS briefly had a story up

KNS briefly had a story up about this. Now it's disappeared. Weird.

jmcnair's picture

New link

As Somebody said above you can see a/the story HERE

Rachel's picture

That story is from last

That story is from last night's news. I saw it.

The KNS story is a different story altogether, and has disappeared from the site.

Somebody's picture


You can search up the story on the KNS site, and the search results include the header for a story...

Knox county clerk's online comments insulting Muslims raise concerns

A Muslim native of Knoxville called “extremely disappointing” recent Facebook posts by Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett criticizing President Obama and ...

...but clicking the link yields a "404 not found". If anyone from KNS is out there, please fix the link. We know someone wrote the story, so we'd like to go ahead and see it.

A_Falk's picture


perhaps someone at KNS decided that an elected public servant making racist statements on social media was a "non-story" and unpublished the article? makes ya wonder...

Average Guy's picture

I'd also like to see if,

any "stupid" Democrats were interviewed.

A_Falk's picture


The Knoxville News Sentinel article included an interview with a local leader of an Islamic (Center? Community Organization? can't recall the title) who expressed his feelings regarding Arnett's post about "goat humpers"... certainly the racist language is far more offensive and troubling than simply referring to Obama voters as stupid.

ArtWagner's picture

Troubling on two levels

While the postings by Foster Arnett are really troubling and disappointing, equally troubling is the fact that the NS put up a story on it, then removed it without explanation. (The link exists but not the story itself.)

I can't think of a single valid reason why the NS would do this unless a higher authority ordered it. It's like the saying goes--the crime is bad, but the coverup is even worse.

cg's picture

Caches, y'all

Somebody's picture

Can't the glass be half full?

Thanks. You know, I try to be an optimist. I'm just sort of hoping for a response from Arnett indicating that these weren't his posts, that he'd been hacked or there was some other reasonable, logical explanation. That would be the best outcome, wouldn't it? I really want that to be the case.

Likewise, when the story went up and then disappeared from KNS, I was fully expecting that a technical glitch happened and the story would reappear, or even that Arnett had finally responded just after the article was posted, so it had been pulled for a re-write to include his response. It's been too long for that, now, though. What's really going on, here? The silence is disquieting.

Factchecker's picture

Next up

If there's a response, he will be portrayed (by himself or likeminded) as The Victim. It's in their political script.

Average Guy's picture

"I thought share meant delete"

At least three times.

glostik's picture

KNS article

was about concerns from the Muslim community, specifically from Tarek El-Messidi, who said he would like to address these issues with Mr. Arnett as I recall. The article was up for a while and disappeared yesterday afternoon or evening. (oops, just saw cg posted it)

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I hadn't seen the KNS story until Cari just linked it, but apparently it was up long enough for 2,285 people to "share" it! Yipes!

Looks like somebody thinks it's a news story--lots of somebodies.

CcDavis's picture


Hate speech like this from an elected official is unacceptable. Arnett has shown his true colors which prove him unfit for public office. Waiting this out will not work. His comments were too egregious. He needs to resign.

Bill in Knoxville's picture

Uh... don't care

Apparently it's OK to air one's opinions but only as long as they fit the narrative of the hand-wringing, bed-wetting left. Mr. Arnett, DO NOT APOLOGIZE for any of this.

fischbobber's picture

How obtuse of you Bill.......

One's personal opinions are fine, if one keeps them personal. When one is charged with operating a government position dealing with the general rights of all citizens though, those citizens have a right to demand treatment based on the citizenship and not on your narrow limp appendaged opinions. You have a right to be a small minded bigot. You don't have the right to serve the public in a general capacity discriminating against folks (that includes harassment) based on that bigotry.

reform4's picture

In his defense...

.. it is a Facebook page. He didn't post them on the official web site for the County.

As wrong as he is, and as wrong for it is for a public official to call part of his constituency "goat humpers", he did do it on his Facebook page, and I feel like someone has to stand up for his right to personal free speech.

"I may disagree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

I recognize some minorities may feel uncomfortable having to go to his office, but how many people actually have to deal with FA personally when they go there? None, you'll deal with the staff, which are probably shaking their heads as much as we are.

ArtWagner's picture

Free speech does not mean immunity from criticism

He wasn't arrested by any type of police, federal or local, so I'd say his right of free speech is completely intact. However, free speech does not mean immunity from criticism. And, in this case, any criticism he received, particularly being an elected officeholder, was rightfully deserved.

cafkia's picture

I absolutely disagree. If

I absolutely disagree. If you were referring to comments or postings made when he was simply a private citizen, I would be in total agreement but as a former member of the military I know what it is like to have freedom of speech restricted. He is not the County Clerk from 9 to 5, he is the County Clerk 24/7. He needs to act like it 24/7. If that is unacceptable to him, he needs to resign and he needs to backdate it to when he made those posts and return any monies he has received since then with the possible exceptions of actual work related expenses.

Or are you saying that the military deserves more harsh treatment for less money than does Arnett?

Somebody's picture

Yeah, no. Look again at the

Yeah, no. Look again at the screen grabs at the top of this thread. The little globe icon means he was broadcasting those comments publicly. This was not something shared only with friends and some Judas leaked it. It means when the page was active and those posts were there, anyone who looked up Foster Arnett on Facebook would have seen that.

Also, I think you've left off an important part of your quote about free speech. Your truncated version of the quote has everything to do with common misconceptions about free speech. With rights come responsibilities. I think the full quote when Voltaire said it was: "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. If people think you're a jerk for what you say, however, you're on your own."

reform4's picture

Oh, I agree.

He's a jerk.

His views do not represent what I or many of us here expect from our elected officials.

Of course we all have a right to criticize him for his statements.

I'm just concerned about these people calling for him to resign. That sword can cut both ways. The analogy someone called for regarding the lighting of the bridge after the SSM SCOTUS ruling is not far off the mark. And that was an official act by an officeholder. Some people might have considered Madeline's official act to be equally offensive to them.

Does that mean they should call for her resignation? Absolutely not. So, therefore, should we call for FA's resignation? I think not.

What would we say to people opposed to the rainbow bridge lighting? We'd say those people can pound sand. (So, now, flip that around from FA's perspective).

Be careful that you don't apply a double standard.

Average Guy's picture

My problem isn't his free speach,

it's the lack speach after the fact.

He admonished in his original post; "if not now, WHEN?"

If he is truly sorry, he should have given a real, unqualified apology.

If he's not sorry, he should have had the courage to say whatever it is that's on his mind.

So as for "WHEN", how about when you have news reporters sitting in front of you?

SnM's picture

"Some people might have

"Some people might have considered Madeline's official act to be equally offensive to them."

Your analogy is bad. Yes, "some people" might have found it offensive. Were those people who might be offended specifically called out as a group? Were they targeted as a specific ethnic minority, gender or political persuasion?

If they weren't a specific target, then they are simply being histrionic. They have no reason to fear ill treatment from an elected official - they have only their feelings of outrage.

On the other hand, if a group has been specifically targeted for abuse, that population has concrete evidence and every reason to suspect that they may get short shrift from an elected official.

Being offended does not equal being maligned.

Somebody's picture

Yes, there's a huge

Yes, there's a huge difference between a public figure expressing an opinion that may be unpopular with some constituents, and a public figure calling some constituents "too stupid to argue with" and other constituents "goat humpers."

One is taking a position on a controversial matter of public policy, and the other is spewing insulting and discriminatory vitriol. These things are not analogous.

reform4's picture

Excellent points.

Yes, the analogy certainly breaks down there to you and me. But I assure you, there are many people in this town that viewed the rainbow lights as a giant middle finger to them, even though that clearly not the intent! I'm just saying- that's how they feel. And that we need to be careful about calling for someone's removal over Facebook postings. Maybe I'm all alone here, but I remain concerned that it's a slippery slope.

And maybe I'm just so used to see Republicans be mean, nasty, and personal when they present their political beliefs, I've grown numb to it and it no longer shocks me like it should...... :)

Factchecker's picture

False equivalence

Some viewed the rainbow lights as a middle finger because those people have some of the same kind of bigoted issues that Arnett and his comrades have, not because the city's gesture was bigoted. The rainbow lights also served to "bridge" (heh) the divisiveness between the city and citizens who have long been a target of bigotry.

We understand that here, of course, but the crowd you're referring to do not. We need to discuss this with them at every opportunity.

fischbobber's picture

Let's not forget here.......

Arnett's reaction to the ruling was to shut down a function of the clerks office, performing marriages, at all the satellite offices and only perform this duty downtown, due to the anticipated overwhelming onslaught of homosexual marriages that were fixing to occur. Did that turn out to be true or did it turn out to be an overtly discriminatory act against a group of people afforded equal protection under the law?

Rachel's picture

I half agree with Steve here.

I half agree with Steve here. Well, maybe 10%. When the lights of the bridge went up, I DID think about the people in Knoxville who would not be happy with it (although all the folks outside of Knoxville bitching about it had no beef).

The difference is that the Mayor was making a positive (non-verbal) statement. She was celebrating something. Others might not agree there was cause to celebrate, but her statement was positive. Her intent was not to be hurtful.

Arnett, OTOH, was using terms like "goat humpers" and calling people stupid. He most certainly DID mean to be hurtful, and his statements were anything but positive. It was his deliberate intent to be insulting, negative, and hurtful that got him all the (deserved) criticism.

cafkia's picture

So, a reasonable

So, a reasonable extrapolation of your attitude from the statement above is that anything that is ok is ok anywhere and anytime from anyone. I say this because several individuals acknowledged Mr. Arnett's right to say or post that which he did. Would that be about right?

However, I would point out that after much begging and campaigning on his part, he accepted a job that he knew required him to subordinate certain of his freedoms to the responsibilities of the job. Even though he begged for the job, he is still compensated reasonably handsomely for his diminution of those freedoms.

To claim that he should not be held to the expectations of that particular position, is essentially to admit that he gained the position fraudulently. That he had no intention of subordinating any of his freedoms for the needs and responsibilities of the job. Your ilk is known to prattle about making government work more like business so, tell me what happens in business when you do not meet the known expectations and requirements of the job.

cafkia's picture

Given Arnett's, and his few

Given Arnett's, and his few supporters on this board, feeble-minded defense of his actions, I think we can go ahead and put this firmly in the "unhinged" category.

Ty's picture

He can say what he wants, period

He has a right to his own opinions and he shouldn't have to answer to anyone because they disagree with his personal opinions. And if commenters are resorting to name calling and "phobia" statements then they have no legitimate intellectual grounds for their arguments or statements against Arnett.

Also, if you are wondering where the Arnett supporters are, well they are at work or at home raising their families. They aren't trolling the internet looking to be outraged that "someone could think this way in this day and age". Bottom line, deal with it. Someone thinks different from you, and you can't do ANYTHING about it.

Rachel's picture

For the twentieth time, yes,

For the twentieth time, yes, he can say what he wants. That's his right.

It's also equally other folk's right to say they find what he said offensive. See how that works?

BTW, if you're concerned about "name-calling," how can you support Arnett calling a group of people "goat-humpers?"

And calling a good chunk of your constituents "stupid" isn't just unbecoming for a public official, it's also gonna lose you votes the next time you decide to run for something.

And before you say none of us would have voted for Arnett anyway, let me tell you that I did in the last election. I also voted for Obama twice. So if Arnett thinks I'm stupid, he's right. I'm stupid for voting for him.

fischbobber's picture

Actually Ty.......

We can do something about it. We can hold him accountable and raise this question at every opportunity. We can make Foster the poster child of everything that's wrong with America and bring this topic up at every single Republican function from now until the next election, and beyond. He not only slurred Muslims, Democrats, and gays, he slurred virtually every woman in this town. Think any of these folks vote?

cafkia's picture

He doesn't have to answer to

He doesn't have to answer to anyone for his personal opinions. The Knox County Clerk - the position he fought to get - is however, responsible to any and all of the legal citizens of Knox County and must indeed answer for words, actions, and apparent intentions.

And if commenters are resorting to Arnett's tactics of name calling and "phobia" statements to your and his dismay, perhaps the two of you could learn something from that.

Dahlia's picture

If Arnett's supporters are at work or at home taking

care of their families, then why are you on here...trolling?

Sure, Arnett has a right to his own hate-filled opinion, just like all the whackjobs who have been out on shooting rampages killing people in schools, theaters, military recruiting offices, etc. have a right to their opinions, too. Everybody has an opinion, but it doesn't mean their opinion is right or shouldn't be challenged, especially it's filled with hate.

And Mr. Arnett, here's a newsflash for you, when you post something on the internet, it's NOT PRIVATE! Just because it was your facebook page, doesn't mean it's only for you. And guess what? It was one of your friends who spilled the beans.

Rachel's picture

And guess what? It was one of

And guess what? It was one of your friends who spilled the beans.

Yup. I've been wondering who that was?

Dahlia's picture

Whoever it was, I applaud them.

Apparently they were just as taken aback by the "real Foster" as the rest of us.

So many Republicans seem to live in a bubble and think everyone believes just like they do and boy, do they get angry when they find out otherwise.

Hildegard's picture

and your little dog, too

1. He has a right to his opinions.
2. He does have to answer for his publicly expressed opinions because he holds public office. That's how it works. You might not think that's fair, but that's politics, all the way around, left to right. If he were just a private citizen, you're right, nobody would care.
3. Name calling is wrong, yet fun! And everybody's doing it - especially Foster Arnett:-)
4. What is a "legitimate intellectual ground for argument?"
5. Nobody disputes that Arnett has many supporters. They may work and have families, but they are definitely also trolling the internetz, if his own erstwhile FB feed is any indication. And they are constantly outraged.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I'll point out again, Ty, what your own political party's local chairman had to say about this incident:

Knox County GOP Chairman Buddy Burkhardt said the Facebook posts on Arnett's personal account "in no way reflect the views of the Republican Party."

"As I have said on TV and at most meetings, the Republican Party welcomes all persons with conservative values regardless of race, creed, color or religion," Burkhardt told 10News.

Clearly, the man is wishing Arnett had kept his trap shut. I expect he wishes you'd do the same.

Ty's picture

Ignorant assumption

Funny, I didn't say I was a Republican. It seems you made an assumption about me and a group of people with little information. I have a question for you, do you not support my right to free speech and Arnett's? And what party do you belong to? I would like to know which group thinks like you.

SnM's picture

How many times must it be

How many times must it be written? No one denies Arnett's (or your) right to freedom of speech to say or post whatever ill-informed, partisan, racist, sexist, xenophobic, offensive things you wish.

No one is suppressing his (or your) right to show himself (or you) to be a bigot.

Unless you are a public official, no one is going to care if you want to present yourself as a narrow-minded hatemonger.

Arnett is a public official. It is his duty to serve the public - all the public. So if he makes partisan, racist, sexist, xenophobic statements, his ability to serve anyone who is a member of the population that is a target of those statements is - rightly - going to be questioned.

Now, run off and try to draw some attention to yourself by making offensive statements that you think no one else has a right to be offended by.

Ty's picture

Read before commenting

You may want to read again what was written to me. That individual told me and Arnett needed to shut our traps. That is not supporting our right to free speech, period.

Second, Arnett's job isn't to represent everyone, his job is to operate the County Clerks office. And if he is to represent anyone, it's the majority, not everyone.

Third, if you read hate and bigotry in what I wrote, then that is baggage that you brought to the conversation.

cafkia's picture

Wow, wow. Clearly, the man is

Wow, wow.

Clearly, the man is wishing Arnett had kept his trap shut. I expect he wishes you'd do the same.

So, that is what you call the individual, Tamara who posted the comment, telling you you need to shut your trap? I'm guessing you flunked reading comprehension, right?

Second, Arnett's job isn't to represent everyone, his job is to operate the County Clerks office. And if he is to represent anyone, it's the majority, not everyone.

Well, that ends the argument. If you have no better understanding of government than that, logic, reason, truth, facts and stunned astonishment will certainly not convince you.

Ty's picture

Government 101

In the United States we have representative republic no one individual can represent every person. It's impossible. You really should educate yourself about how our government was designed before talking of the ignorance of others. What you're talking about is your idea of what the government is supposed to be.

Ty's picture

Mind your own business

And one more thing that was an A to B conversation so you can C your way out of it. That person needs to answer for themselves.

Min's picture

Don't be such a big baby, Ty.

If you post on a blog like this, any comment you make is fair game. If you can't handle that, take your ball and go home.

Rachel's picture

Since you're intent on

Since you're intent on trolling, I'll point out that you didn't answer my question.

You said a) you supported Arnett, and b) that you didn't like name-calling.

Q: How can you support Arnett calling Muslims "goat humpers" and people who voted for Obama "stupid?"

Ty's picture

Troll bait

I was illustrating that people didn't like his insults or general statements but were engaging in the same activity. So their and your statements were hypocritical. Do you disagree?

jmcnair's picture

A word to the wise is sufficient.

You will not fare well here. Try trolling somewhere else.

Rachel's picture

I think it's hypocritical to

I think it's hypocritical to support Arnett, who calls people names, and simultaneously decry name calling, which you are doing.

Talk about troll bait.

R. Neal's picture

And if he is to represent

And if he is to represent anyone, it's the majority, not everyone.


Elected representatives represent everyone in their jurisdiction.

Regardless, the county clerk is not a representative. He/she is a servant of the county, a glorified cashier and bookkeeper who is supposed to serve all residents of the county.

On a related note, these fee offices make a good case for moving away from our state's antiquated system of privilege, patronage and corruption in local government to appointing qualified professionals who can be removed for cause.

SnM's picture

My goodness, you are dense.

My goodness, you are dense.

I didn't write that it was Arnett's job to "represent" everyone. I wrote that it was his job to serve everyone - serve every person he maligned with his ignorant, malicious posts. He is a public servant, charged with serving all the public in his official, public capacity.

Now, how can the people he has abused trust that he will discharge his job dispassionately?

Also, I did not suggest that you wrote "hate and bigotry." I wrote that you have the freedom of speech to spread it - just as Arnett does. You are free to continue to represent yourself as dumber than a sack of rocks - although I suggest you stop.

Nightshade's picture

read before commenting

I have been reading these comments trying to remain objective. It seems to me however that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written to not only protect the majority from an oppressive minority but also a minority from an oppressive majority. The Constitution provides us with freedom of Religion and freedom of speech. Seems to me that calling any any one of Abrahamic beliefs (Christian, Hebrew or Muslim) a "Goat Humper" is to call all "Goat Humpers" since all stem from the same belief system. In my opinion the object of Democracy and Government is to provide all with the protected rights of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". As a government official it does not seem that Mr. Arnett is working for the common good and certainly not acting in the spirit of "Truth, Justice and the American Way". In short he is no Superman ... and definitely does not represent me or my idea of what a person elected by the people and for the people should be. To me he does not represent my idea of a good American, a good Politician, a good Republican or even a good person But that is just my opinion

Factchecker's picture


I have a question for you, do you not support my right to free speech and Arnett's?

When right-wingers get themselves into these messes, they always try to change the issue into one about their fundamental freedoms. You see? Liberals are the thought police who hate freedom. And these (now) victims just have "opinions" that show how patriotic they are because they're sharing them freely among so many like-minded hateful bigots.

Got it. But public officials should not be divisive and openly hateful. Government workers at all levels know that they need to watch their tongues. It comes with the territory. You don't have to ask the "nearest hippie." Just ask the nearest Oak Ridge plant worker during the Cold War whether they were being unfairly denied their right to free speech.

Factchecker's picture

Bless his heart

He just wants all this unfavorable attention to go away.

redmondkr's picture

Interesting article from

Interesting article from Reverb Press.

Bbeanster's picture

OMG.What a shot of Arnett!

What a shot of Arnett!


redmondkr's picture


I thought at first it had been Photoshopped.

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