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Racist E-mail Compares First Lady To Chimp

The unusual aspect to this story is that this clown is the CEO of a company which supposedly tries to portray a welcoming image for Nashville to tou

The unusual aspect to this story is that this clown is the CEO of a company which supposedly tries to portray a welcoming image for Nashville to tourists. Video and story from WKRN, Nashville. The e-mail can be viewed at Nashville Scene. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has since decided to drop its contract with Walt Baker's marketing firm.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After accusations of racism and calls for him to step down, a prominent local businessman says he's sorry for forwarding a controversial email.

Walt Baker, the CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, is at the center of controversy after forwarding an e-mail that compared First Lady Michelle Obama to a chimpanzee.

Metro Councilman Walter Hunt said he started to get phone calls about the e-mail on Friday.

"I don't know what he was thinking," Hunt told News 2, "and the people who got [the e-mail] said I don't think it's funny."

"It was demeaning, insulting, racist -- not only to her, but to every citizen in the city of Nashville and the state of Tennessee," said Hunt.

Walt Baker initially brushed off the e-mail controversy, telling the Nashville Scene on Friday it was in good fun, but on Saturday he apologized.

"It was wrong, my initial reaction to the story was wrong," Baker told News 2. "It was stupid and I am alone the responsible party in this."

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UPDATE: Baker is now being portrayed as the victim by some in the local media.

Nashville Man Loses Friends, Job Over Email

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