Greg Tramontin

Greg Tramontin, known locally for his “Greg the GoAuto Guy” commercials, has apologized for calling Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a “hoe” on Facebook.

Greg Tramontin, known locally for his “Greg the GoAuto Guy” commercials on television, has apologized for referring to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as a “hoe” in a Facebook post.

Tramontin, who has since deleted his Facebook account, was responding to a political discussion about the race between President Donald Trump and now-President-elect Joe Biden. “Trump was doing it for all the right reasons. He loved this country. It was in trouble,” he wrote. “(He) doesn’t need this, unlike power hungry Joe and the hoe!”

In a statement released to the media Wednesday evening, the founder and chief executive of GoAuto insurance said the statement about Harris was made in jest, but “obviously inappropriate.”

“But now I ask myself, why? Why did I think, for even a second, that this was something to express?” Tramontin said. “I have to be honest that I was caught up in the deep political divide and the toxic rhetoric that this country has been living in for the past several years. My words were hurtful. I sincerely apologize. This is my wakeup call.”

Gary Chambers, a Black community activist, preserved Tramontin’s comments and posted them on social media where they drew strong response. Several people who said they were GoAuto customers said they were cancelling their policies in protest. Chambers called on Tramontin to step down as chief executive officer of GoAuto.

“This is just an indication of how divided we are as a community and a country right now,” Chambers said. “Regardless of where you stand politically, this is a woman who has ascended to the second highest office in the land. A Black woman who has done things in no way to indicate that she is a ho.”

Tramontin’s comments were disheartening because GoAuto has so many Black customers who are drawn to its affordable auto insurance rates, Chambers said.

The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus also issued a statement condemning Tramontin’s remarks.

“If this is the level of respect he shows to African American women,” the Black Caucus wrote, “our thought is that everyone of great conscience, all people of color, specifically women, should look at this company and decide whether they are being respected.”

The statement by Caucus Chair, Sen. Jimmy Harris III, D-New Orleans, and, Vice Chair Barbara Carpenter, D-Baton Rouge, called the disparagement of Harris, the first woman and first Black person elected as vice president, “unacceptable, inexcusable and appalling.”

Tramontin's commercials as "Greg the GoAuto Guy" are a staple on Baton Rouge TV stations. He founded the company in 2009 and it also has locations in Ohio and Nevada.

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Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.