Mayor Compared to Taliban Member on Political Website

There's more controversy surrounding the removal of two Confederate portraits from Savannah City Hall, one of a former Savannah mayor, the other Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Last week, Mayor Otis Johnson removed both paintings. Now a Confederate heritage organization is responding by equating Johnson and the Taliban on its website.

There are quite a few people upset over the issue, but one Savannah city alderman says the group called the Georgia Heritage Coalition has gone too far. Its website is supposed to fight for the preservation of Georgia's history and heritage, instead it shows Mayor Johnson as the newest member of the Taliban.

"The way things have been going in recent years, if someone makes an attempt to remove anything Confederate, I have to be suspicious as to why they're doing it," said Jeff Davis, chairman of the Georgia Heritage Coalition, in a phone interview.

The portrait of Lee used to rest on Savannah's chamber walls, until Mayor Johnson took it down. Davis says he not only supports his website, but feels the images are appropriate.

"The X-Files on the Georgia Heritage Coalition website are purely satire and lampoons and it is probably the most followed political website in Georgia," he said. "We have a pretty tremendous audience because we look at things with some humor and we'd rather say, 'Hey, let's all be tolerant of this situation,' and have love rather than division."

After looking at the website, councilman Tony Thomas says division is all it shows and it just gives Southerners a bad name. "I think that most white Southerners that are interested in preserving their Southern heritage and history don't believe like this group believes," he told us.

Even though Thomas was upset about the removal of the portraits without council approval and was the first to speak out, he is saddened to see it go this far. "I think that it's really sad that the issue is not about heritage and not about the preservation of heritage, but more about hate and racism."

We tried to contact Mayor Johnson, but he has yet to return our calls. However we were told he has seen the website.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen,