WEST VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Gov. Jim Justice removed Martin Hess from the West Virginia State Fire Commission over a personal Facebook post of Hess wearing a shirt saying “All Lives Splatter.”
Hess was in a position with the state fire commission slated to end in June 2023. Justice said Thursday that his removal is effective immediately.
The letter of removal said in part, “My office has received information referencing various social media posts you have made which are inappropriate. I will not tolerate behavior like this from anyone representing the State of West Virginia.”
In a post that Hess has already deleted, he’s shown wearing a t-shirt that shows a car running over three people, with the words “All Lives Splatter. Nobody Cares About Your Protest. Keep Your Ass Out of the Road.”
This comes after a man in Minnesota was charged with assault for allegedly driving his semi-truck into a group of protesters marching on a closed Minnesota freeway on Sunday. The Star Tribune later reported that he was released without charges.
“All Lives Splatter” is a play on “All Lives Matter,” a phrase that is commonly used to deflect from the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The same day Justice removed Hess from his position, Hess posted a Facebook post stating: “Due to my post I have up set a lot of people and I am sorry for that by all means i did not mean up set any one a peaceful protest is fine as long as no one gets hurt we need to remember that all lives matter we are all the same color in gods eyes so I guess all I can do is say I am sorry and did not mean any disrespect to anyone or any group.” (Post is copied exactly as typed on Hess’s Facebook page).
According to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, The State Fire Commission “consists of thirteen members, qualified by experience and training to deal with the responsibilities of the commission.” Hess was confirmed as a commissioner on Dec. 10, 2018 by the West Virginia State Senate. Hess is also a board chairman of the Gilmer County Public Service District.
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