LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Southern California Republican Party official is under fire after allegedly sending an email that included an altered photo depicting President Barack Obama as an ape.
An e-mail allegedly sent by party central committee member Marilyn Davenport depicts a family portrait-style image of apes with Obama's face artificially superimposed on one of them. Text beneath the photo reads, "Now you know why no birth certificate."
Davenport could not immediately be reached for comment.
The alternative newspaper OC Weekly first reported the story, and was told by Davenport that the e-mail was "just an Internet joke." She also asked the Weekly, "You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?"
Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh told The Associated Press on Saturday that he wants an ethics investigation into the incident.
"It's just highly inappropriate, it's a despicable message, it drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee," said Baugh.
Baugh said it could be several days before it's known whether the ethics committee will agree to investigate Davenport.
At the very least, Baugh said, Davenport should be apologizing for what she's done rather than attacking whoever leaked the email to media, referring to an email Davenport sent after the story broke calling on "the coward" who leaked the email to come forward.
Davenport, a tea party activist, represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County on the central committee.
She represents Brea, Placentia, Fullerton and portions of other Orange County cities to the county committee tasked with fundraising, campaigning and debating policy for the Republican Party.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)