UPDATED: Nov. 27, 2018, 7:49 a.m. EDT — The Florida State University football fan who posted a meme depicting head coach Willie Taggart being lynched has been fired by his now-former employers, according to a new report. The man identified by social media as being named Tom Shand will no longer be working for Hilton Grand Vacations, the Tallahassee Democrat reported Monday evening. The company had suspended the employee earlier in the day before deciding to terminate his employment.
Meanwhile, Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jack Campbell was continuing to investigate to see if the fan may have committed a crime.
Updated November 26, 2018, 11:45 p.m. EDT
Hilton Grand Vacations suspended Tom Shand, its employee who was accused of posting an image of Florida State head coach Willie Taggart being lynched, the Tallahassee Democrat reported on Monday.
“Our concern regarding this situation is a top priority. The team member responsible has been suspended while further action is being considered. We want to ensure all Team Members’ behavior is consistent with our values and code of conduct,” said Lauren George, a spokeswoman for Hilton Garden Vacations, without naming Shand.
Demands increased Monday morning for the firing of the Florida State University football fan who posted an image on social media of the Black head coach hanging from a noose.
The Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with the fan were deleted by Sunday evening, but not before social media users identified him as Tom Shand of the Hilton Grand Vacations in Orlando.
Florida State University’s football team lost in a blow out on Saturday to rival University of Florida 41-14. After the defeat, Shand allegedly directed his anger at first-year coach Willie Taggart.
Screenshots preserved on social media showed that a Facebook account associated with Shand’s name posted a black-and-white picture of a Black man being lynched with Taggart’s face superimposed on the image. The meme was accompanied by the words: “BELIEVE IN SOMETHING … EVEN IF IT MEANS SACRIFICING YOUR REP.”
Outrage over the post was swift, as growing numbers of social media users condemned Shand and called on Hilton Grand Vacations to give him the boot.
“As a HiltonHonors member, I’m disgusted by #TomShand despicable post regarding #willietaggart Head Coach at FSUFootball. There should be no place in our society or your company for such racist views. Thank GOD we’re MarriottRewards members,” Twitter user @mspaulasardinas posted.
A LinkedIn page with Shand’s name and photograph said he was a student at Florida State from 1997 – 2000 before graduating from Purdue University Global with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Shand apparently has a history of spewing racism at African-American football coaches. Social media users uncovered comments Shand made about former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.
The Orlando Sentinel received no response for comments on Sunday from the Hilton Grand Vacations corporate office.
Here are a few more tweets that call for Shand’s firing: