Georgia State Representative Jason Spencer will resign at the end of the month after he exposed himself and repeatedly yelled the n-word on an episode of the undercover TV series “Who is America?”
Spencer, a Republican who has served in the Georgia House of Representatives since 2011, said in a one-sentence email to House Speaker David Ralston that he had decided to step down. His resignation will take effect on July 31.
The state lawmaker was facing increasing pressure to resign, even though he had already lost the Republican primary and was due to leave office in January. His resignation means he won’t qualify for lifetime health benefits and a legislative retirement package.
Spencer was already a controversial figure but there were increasing calls for his resignation after Sunday’s episode of “Who is America?,” the new Showtime series in which comedian Sacha Baron Cohen uses fake identities to trick people into interviews.
Spencer believed he was taking part in a video that would be used for self-defense classes in Israel. Cohen, who posed as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert, convinced him to take an upskirt photo of someone in a burqa while using racial stereotypes to imitate a Chinese tourist.
Spencer also repeatedly yelled the n-word after he was told to demonstrate how to attract attention while facing an ISIS kidnapper. Cohen then convinced him to drop his pants and touch him, claiming it would deter terrorists who are afraid of being perceived as gay.
“I’ll touch you! I’ll touch you with my buttocks,” the lawmaker, who was bent over with his pants down, yelled as he moved closer towards Cohen. “Drop the gun or I’ll touch you! USA!”
Many condemned Spencer’s behavior and some called for a special session to remove him from office if he refused to resign. “There is no excuse for this type of behavior, ever, and I am saddened and disgusted by it,” Governor Nathan Deal said in a tweet on Monday.
In a statement, Spencer said he had received countless death threats after he introduced legislation in 2016 in an attempt to ban burqas. “Sacha Baron Cohen and his associates took advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked,” he said.