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'Southern Charm' star apologizes for monkey emoji text to black Charleston activist

Kathryn Dennis (copy)

Kathryn Dennis apologized on Twitter for sending a local black activist a monkey emoji. File/Tommy Garcia/Bravo

Kathryn Dennis, who stars on the Bravo reality TV show "Southern Charm," apologized Monday after she sent a monkey emoji to a black activist with whom she had been sparring on social media. 

"I want to acknowledge that using a monkey emoji in my text was offensive, and from the bottom of my heart I sincerely apologize to anyone and everyone I hurt," Dennis posted on Twitter.

"Although the context was not my intention, there are no 'if ands or buts' that excuse me. I did not give it thought, and it was and is wrong. I know I am not that person. I know and will do better," she wrote.

Tamika Gadsden, a local radio show host and activist for the Charleston Activist Network, replied via Twitter, "Apology not accepted." 

Their argument started when the owner of a Mount Pleasant nail salon announced on Instagram she wanted to organize a boat parade for President Donald Trump later this month. 

On social media, Gadsden called the idea "reprehensible."

"In Charleston you learn, fairly quickly, that the face of White Supremacy resembles that of the boutique-owning, gatekeeping glitterati," Gadsden tweeted. She attached a photo of the salon owner and her business on Twitter. 

Dennis entered the fray by posting an old video of herself patronizing the nail salon, saying she couldn't wait to get back.

The ensuing argument took place through direct messages, which are not posted publicly, but which Gadsden later shared via screenshots online. 

Among those messages, Dennis allegedly wrote, "Why are you calling us 'white people'? That's so racist," "You're an L 7 weeeeenieeee" and "You'll learn."

She then sent a monkey emoji with the text, "That's how serious I take this."

Bravo and Dennis did not respond to The Post and Courier's attempts to reach out for comment. 

Likewise, the owner of the salon could not be reached.

Gadsden said she did not receive a "real apology" from Dennis and said the reality show star's behavior is indicative of a longstanding culture of white supremacy and racism in Charleston.

"I'm a black woman in the South," Gadsden told The Post and Courier. "I know what that monkey means."

Dennis went through another social media controversy this year when fans were convinced she was no longer sober after her 2016 stay in rehab for substance abuse issues.

“Am I not allowed to have a sense of humor without you people thinking I’m high?!” she wrote on social media in March. “Let me liveeee.”

Six seasons of "Southern Charm" have aired on Bravo since 2014. The show is filmed in Charleston. 

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Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

Kalyn Oyer is a Charleston native who covers arts and entertainment for The Post and Courier's Thursday edition, Charleston Scene. She used to write about music for the Charleston City Paper and Scene SC.

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