Belinda Blair, the president and CEO of Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Kentucky who was being investigated for racially charged comments on her Facebook page, resigned from her position Monday.
The resignation was announced by emailed statement shortly before 5 p.m. Monday. Tom Maddox, chairman of the hospice board, said the statement “is what Belinda the CEO and the board of directors agreed upon. I can’t have any further comment on that.”
Blair was suspended with pay in late June, after questions arose about three posts on her personal Facebook page.
The three posts were memes about Black Lives Matter, violence against Blacks, and slavery. For example, one meme showed what appears to be a Civil War battlefield with the caption: “Over 620,000 people died to free black slaves and still to this day not even 1 thank you and now we’re known as racists.”
Blair said in a Monday interview she did not post all of the posts and did not remember if she had posted the meme about Back Lives Matter. Later in the interview, Blair said her account had been hacked.
Blair did say she put up a post that appears to be of white children in a cotton field with the caption: “Poor children of every color picked cotton.” Blair said she did not consider the post offensive.
The statement says in part, “Belinda Blair, CEO of Hospice of Western Kentucky, tendered her voluntary resignation to Hospice of Western Kentucky, which was accepted, effective July 20, 2020. Belinda has a long history of exemplary service not only to Hospice but our entire community. Hospice of Western Kentucky thanks Belinda for her contribution to our organization, and we wish her the best.”
Maddox said previously that the board was attempting to determine whether Blair’s Facebook account had been hacked. When asked their findings, Maddox said, “I think the statement stands for itself.”
Later, Maddox said, “she was suspended as CEO with pay. While the evaluation was being done … she offered her resignation.”
Maddox previously said the board was having difficulty determining whether Blair’s account had been hacked, and he said the board had accepted Blair’s explanation that the post about picking cotton was not meant to be offensive.
Of Blair’s resignation, Maddox said, “we tried to be as fair as we can, as I’ve told you all along. That’s why it’s taken so long.”
The statement says Hospice is “grateful for the continued support of the community,” and that the organization helps people “without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability (mental or physical), national origin, diagnosis, ability to pay, or membership in any other protected category.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse