A US diplomat and his wife who were expelled from India have caused a furor in the media after their racist comments went viral. Regularly mocking the Indian lifestyle, they once suggested vegetarians are responsible for a wave of violence and rapes.
The Times of India reproduced the comments made by Wayne May, who headed the security team at the US embassy in New Delhi, and his wife, Alicia Muller, who worked as a community liaison officer. The paper noted the irony of her role given the comments.
May’s expulsion was part of a tit-for-tat eviction of diplomats. The exchange was made after escalating tensions which stemmed from the “humiliating” arrest of Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade. She stood accused of visa fraud and making false statements on payments, and was then subjected to strip searches and a humiliating cavity search, which India’s foreign minister vehemently denounced. She was asked to leave the US last week.
The US diplomatic couple was effectively deported last week by Indian authorities, but their outrageous comments made during their stay only recently went viral.
While Indian newspapers have identified May as the diplomat expelled, the US State Department officially refused to state the identity of the diplomat who was based in India.
In one of the postings Alicia mocked the Indian way of life, stating that herpet dog Paco got “more protein in his diet" than their gardener's, after one of her Facebook friends noted that Paco looks bigger than the man. A week later she followed up with comments about vegetarians being rapists, adding “this place is just so bizarre.”
In a further post, Muller went on to insult a sacred Indian animal, posting a picture of a cow entitled “stupid cow.” As one response duly noted: “You just insulted their god...” Muller replied: “Not the first time, not the last.”
Most of the comments were reproduced on a website entitled ‘Racist American Diplomats’, which published screenshots.
Washington has made attempts to distance itself from the comments since their posting. “Those comments absolutely do not reflect US government policy, nor were they made on any official US government social-media account,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at a daily news conference. “I would underscore that these do not in any way represent the US government position,” she added.
“Given the sensitive positions they occupied in the US embassy, they are, particularly in hindsight, astonishingly offensive,” the Times of India said.