Kathryn Dennis, who starred in six seasons of Bravo’s reality TV series Southern Charm, apologized on Monday for sending a monkey emoji to activist and radio host Mika Gadsden in defense of a local Charleston business owner for hosting a parade of Trump ships.
“I want to recognize that the use of a monkey emoji in my text was offensive, and from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize to everyone I hurt.” Dennis tweeted. “Although the context is not my intention, there is no” if, not but “excuse me. I didn’t think about it, and it was and it is wrong. I know I am not that person. I know and I will do better. “
Dennis tweeted apologies for using the monkey emoji in his direct post after Gadsden tweeted a screenshot, but previously unseen screenshots of Dennis’ full conversation with Gadsden reveal that the reality star has repeatedly sent the activist a message 28 times, calling her a “psychopath” and saying, “Do you have a mum?”
Bravo did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
Dennis, a resident of Charleston, South Carolina, participated in a social media chat Sunday with Katie Shields, owner of a local nail salon called Mylk Bar. Shields posted an Instagram story to her personal account saying she was hosting a “Trump Boat Parade” later this month.
Another small business owner, Paulina Rodriguez, who sold her jewelry in the Shields nail salon, republished Shields’ story, saying she cut ties with the business owner for supporting Trump. (She didn’t include Shields’ name or identity.) Shields posted another Instagram story asking supporters of DM Rodriguez “and to explain that supporting Trump doesn’t make you racist. “
As a result, Rodriguez told BuzzFeed News that she has received a huge influx of messages from Shields and Mylk Bar subscribers, feeling harassed by people who have made comments such as “It’s hilarious that you think you are better than those who voted for Trump … You are nobody. MAGA. “
Rodriguez told BuzzFeed News that Dennis was among the group of people who had him after the Shields call. The owner of the jewelry store received a notification that Dennis mentioned it in his Instagram story featuring a video of having his nails done at Mylk Bar before quarantine, but Rodriguez’s tag was not available at audience on Dennis’ story.
The harassment prompted Rodriguez to contact Gadsden, whom she knows is an activist from Charleston. It was at this point that Gadsden posted a video on his own Instagram story on how Dennis mentioned Rodriguez in his Instagram story, but hid his name so that others could not see him.
“This is how white women show solidarity,” Gadsden wrote of his story. “They are trying to intimidate BIPOC by thinking that their lawyers or their supporters (fans) scare us! “
That’s when Dennis DM’d Gadsden made comments like, “Are you oblivious to your absolutely sociopathic behavior. I can’t help but keep sending you a message in the hope that you will get it. Ur legitimizes what is wrong with our city. Dennis also said, “Stop using Charleston and your ur minority claim as a platform to harass people.”
Gadsden barely responded to Dennis, except that he liked every message and sent a few thumbs-up emojis. The only words Gadsden rewrote were “Teach me” in response to Dennis saying, “You will learn.” Gadsden told BuzzFeed News that she dislikes Dennis’s “insults and the use of racial tropes”, but unfortunately I think that will make a great scenario for her.
“People like Kathryn Dennis are rewarded with bigger platforms, access to unionized programs and networks at the national level, people who express what people might think of as nonchalantly racist views that demonstrate micro-aggression against women of color, “said Gadsden. “People like Kathryn Dennis are everywhere. They’re ubiquitous, they’re all over Charleston, and they’re rewarded for their behavior and are given spots on reality TV shows. “
Rodriguez told BuzzFeed News that she thought Dennis’ MDs in Gadsden were “absolutely heinous.”
“I couldn’t believe what she was saying,” said Rodriguez. “There is just this racial divide in Charleston and people are so afraid to call it. “
After tweeting his public apology on Monday, Dennis sent a final DM to Gadsden to apologize.
“I’m sorry, I messed up. I didn’t think so and even if I thought of it as a “monkey business”, etc., it doesn’t matter. It was deaf and wrong, “she wrote.
“I am human and I make mistakes, but when I do, I want to own them and recognize them. This is how I strive to live my life, and these are the values I strive to instill as a mother. Now, in a world of division, I just want to bring people together. “
According to Gadsden, the behavior of the reality star is not an isolated incident and is emblematic of the larger problems of racism in Charleston and the country as a whole.
“Kathryn Dennis is not an outlier,” said Gadsden. “It is most certainly the rule. “
BuzzFeed News has contacted Dennis and Shields for comments.