Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Nicholson resigns over Juneteenth remark

David Nicholson, the longtime executive director of the N.C. Apple Festival, resigned Thursday one day after news outlets reported his offensive Facebook post disparaging the new Juneteenth holiday and proposing instead an "Old Fat White Man Day."

The reaction of the Board of Directors in announcing Nicholson's resignation and apologizing for it was unusually swift and decisive, reflecting the Apple Festival's desire to avoid tainting the spirit of honoring the apple industry.

"For 76 years, the North Carolina Apple Festival has brought our community together to celebrate one of the most important agricultural crops grown in Henderson County and our local farmers," the board said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. "The NC Apple Festival couldn't happen without the dedication of the board members who serve and volunteers throughout the year as well as the apple growers, vendors, entertainers and downtown merchants that participate during the festival weekend.

"As a board, we were saddened and disappointed to hear our executive director, David Nicholson, made disparaging remarks on social media about the Juneteenth Holiday. We have accepted Mr. Nicholson's resignation effective immediately. His remarks do not reflect or represent the board or our mission to the community. Just as we celebrate the apple harvest during Labor Day Weekend, we join in celebrating Juneteenth with all members of our community and apologize for the actions of Mr. Nicholson."

Nicholson, who served as Henderson County manager from 1996 until 2005, briefly posted then took down the Facebook comment, which read, "The Post Office is closed today for some made-up holiday that I never heard of? Just when is the 'Old Fat White Man Day'? I really want to celebrate this day.”

Crystal Cauley, who advocates for the Black History Collective of Henderson County, called for Nicholson's resignation on Wednesday in an interview with WLOS.'

“We would like for him to step down and have a new representative for the North Carolina Apple Festival because it represents us as a county here in Western North Carolina and throughout our state,” Cauley told the station.