A three-minute video of local firebrand Gary Chambers on Thursday night berating and calling for the resignation of East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Bernard has gone viral.

Several prominent entertainment websites such as TMZ and The Shade Room shared it, as have popular figures with large social media following, including LeBron James, Shaun King and Patton Oswalt. The hashtag, #connie, has been trending on Twitter.

The topic that night was whether to change the name of Lee High School in Baton Rouge, which has long been criticized for its association with Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but Chambers instead took Bernard to task.

“You should walk out of here and resign and never come back,” said Chambers, publisher of The Rouge Collection, “because you are the example of racism in this community. You are horrible.”

Bernard drew the ire of Chambers and several others at the meeting after she told a Baton Rouge TV station on June 10 that saying those offended by the name of Lee High should "learn a little bit more about" Confederate General Robert E. Lee, for whom the school is named, and discover that he eventually freed all his slaves.

Bernard apologized on Friday. The board ended up voting unanimously to create a committee that will come up with options for a new name for the school.

On Sunday morning, Chambers went on social media, saying he is "humbled by the support from around the country." He said he has been invited to speak Monday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show "to discuss the importance of renaming buildings and institutions after Black Americans."

"We’ve got work to do!" he said.

This story has been updated.


Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com.