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CBS fires VP for writing 'Republican gun toters' killed in Las Vegas don't deserve sympathy

By Mary Hui

October 2, 2017 at 10:09 PM

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A gunman in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival Oct. 1, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. (Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)

CBS fired a company executive Monday after she criticized some victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting as “Republican gun toters” who did not deserve sympathy.

Related: [Here are the victims of the Las Vegas shooting]

Geftman-Gold made her Facebook comments in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, with at least 59 people killed and more than 500 injured. The attack occurred at the end of a three-day country music festival held over the weekend on the Las Vegas Strip. The event drew a diverse crowd of thousands of music fans, and police said the audience was more than 22,000 strong when gunshots rang out about 10 p.m. Sunday.

CBS confirmed to The Washington Post on Monday that Geftman-Gold was dismissed for her “deeply unacceptable” comments on social media.

“This individual, who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS,” the company said in a statement.

“Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families.”

Her posts have since been deleted.

Related: [‘I cannot express how wrong I was’: Country guitarist changes mind on gun control after Vegas]

The Daily Caller, a right-leaning outlet, first reported on Geftman-Gold’s post Monday morning.

Geftman-Gold apologized for her “shameful” post and is “deeply sorry for diminishing the significance of every life affected” by the gunman’s terrorism, according to a statement provided to Fox News.

“Earlier today I posted an indefensible post in a Facebook discussion thread concerning the tragic Las Vegas shooting, a statement I sincerely regret.”

A petition addressed to the New York State Bar Association has been posted online condemning Geftman-Gold’s “professional misconduct,” and had more than 1,000 signatures as of early Monday evening.

The Las Vegas gunman has been identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. He was found dead in his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where he had opened fire on concertgoers on the ground below. Police described Paddock as a “lone wolf” attacker, and no motive has been revealed yet.

Among the victims who have been identified so far are Angie Gomez, who traveled from Southern California to the concert with her high school sweetheart to toast a new job as a certified nursing assistant; Charleston Hartfield, a Las Vegas police officer, a member of the armed services, a father and a youth football coach; John Phippen, a “lumberjack kind of a guy” who loved music, said his best friend; and Susan Smith, the office manager at Vista Fundamental Elementary School in Simi Valley, Calif., “a big country music fan” who had been attending the concert with friends when she was shot. 

Police officers advise people to take cover near the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A police officer takes cover behind a truck at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01 People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: A man in a wheelchair is taken away from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: A person takes cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01 People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run for cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.) People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A police officer takes cover behind a police vehicle during a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People take cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
People assist a wounded woman at the Tropicana during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Stirp in Las Vegas Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
A wounded woman is moved outside the Tropicana during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: Las Vegas police stand guard along the streets outside the the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after a active shooter was reported on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: A cowboy hat lays in the street after shots were fired near a country music festival on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
A pair of cowboy boots is shown in the street outside the concert venue after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers stand near an ambulance as medical personnel treat a person in the parking lot of the Hooters Casino Hotel after a mass shooting at a country music festival nearby on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
An ambulance leaves the concert venue after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was hear on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Police run to cover at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People are searched by Las Vegas police at the Tropicana Las Vegas during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Police and rescue personnel gather at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave. after a mass shooting at a country music festival nearby on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 2 people dead. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A woman sits on a curb at the scene of a shooting outside of a music festival along the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: Police officers stop a man who drove down Tropicana Ave. near Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave, which had been closed after a mass shooting at a country music festival that left at least 2 people dead nearby on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The man was released. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Photo Gallery: A man in a high-rise hotel opened fire on concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip late Sunday, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 200.

Related: [Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock was a high-stakes gambler who ‘kept to himself’ before massacre]

The massacre has drawn varied reactions from political leaders and artists. President Trump tweeted his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims early Monday, called the shooting “an act of pure evil,” and plans to travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday. Meanwhile, foreign leaders around the world sent their condolences to victims and condemned the attack.

The country music community also responded, mourning the tragedy in social media posts. Caleb Keeter, the lead guitarist for the Texas-based Josh Abbott Band, which performed at the Route 91 Harvest festival Sunday afternoon, tweeted a lengthy personal response to the attack, explaining how the tragedy has forced him to rethink his stance on gun control.

“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life. Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with [Concealed Handgun Licenses], and legal firearms on the bus,” Keeter wrote. “They were useless.”

Democrats also jumped into the gun-control debate, with some blaming Republican inaction for the shooting and accusing the gun-rights lobby of profiting from the tragedy.

Republican lawmakers have mostly steered clear of politics in their responses to the attack, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted during a media briefing on Monday that the White House would not engage in a “policy discussion” on “a day of mourning.”

Read more:

News organizations take back reports of Tom Petty’s death amid swirl of confusion

Here’s how frustrated Democrats have responded to Las Vegas

The Las Vegas shooter had about 20 guns. Here’s what we know about them.

Route 91 Harvest festival: The Las Vegas ‘sleepover’ that ended in a nightmare


Mary Hui recently graduated from Princeton University and is a reporting intern covering social issues.

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