DeWine distancing himself from appointee

Seth A. Richardson - (TNS)

Susan Allan Block

Susan Allan Block

Susan Allan Block resigns from Ohio Arts Council after inflammatory social media remarks

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced Friday that Susan Allan Block, one of his appointees to the Ohio Arts Council, had resigned following remarks on social media supporting Republican President Donald Trump’s false narrative of widespread electoral fraud and calling Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris a “whore.”

“Today I accepted the resignation of Susan Allan Block from the Ohio Arts Council,” DeWine said in a statement after public pressure mounted following the posts from Block, a member of the Block family that owns Block Communications.

OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins also released a statement, saying Block’s comments were not aligned with the council and its goals.

“As I shared yesterday, agency staff does not comment on the personal opinions of its sitting board members. However, Susan is no longer on the board, so let me now say this,” Collins said. “Our agency does not condone or endorse these inflammatory opinions in any way, and we will continue to work in alignment with our shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity.”

Block was first appointed to the Ohio Arts Council in 2016 by Republican Gov. John Kasich. DeWine reappointed Block to the Ohio Arts Council in 2019, with her term running until 2024, according to a release on the OAC website.

Block received widespread condemnation – including from the governor – following the dissemination of her posts in the aftermath of the Wednesday riots in Washington when Trump supporters occupied the Capitol, resulting in five deaths, including one police officer.

Screenshots of the posts from her now deleted Facebook and Twitter amplified Trump’s conspiracy theory that the widespread voter fraud led to Trump’s defeat by Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.

Block is the wife of Allan Block, principal owner of Block Communications, the parent company of The Blade in Toledo as well as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Her brother-in-law, John Block, is The Blade’s publisher and editor-in-chief.

The Blocks are ardent defenders of Trump through the editorial pages of both newspapers, which often feature fawning endorsements of Trump and his actions.

The Blocks’ editorial decisions have often put them at odds with newsroom employees. On Thursday, Blade journalists announced a general byline strike – removing their names from all stories – beginning at 7 p.m. in response to Block’s comments as well as managerial decisions.

In a statement, Block Communications said Susan Allan Block’s comments were not representative of the company.

“Social media posts by Susan Block represent her individual views as a private citizen; she has a First Amendment right to freedom of speech and her opinions. Her views do not represent those of Block Communications, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Susan Block is not an employee, shareholder or Director of Block Communications, Inc. or any of its affiliates.”

Susan Allan Block Allan Block

Seth A. Richardson (TNS)

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