adBlockCheck

U.S. Citizen Resigns After Making Controversial Remark About Country

Top Headlines

Recent News

EPA Urges Flint Residents To Stop Dumping Tap Water Down Drain

FLINT, MI—Citing the significant health and safety risks that it poses to public infrastructure and the local ecosystem, the Environmental Protection Agency released a statement Thursday urging residents of Flint to discontinue dumping tap water down their drains.

New OSHA Regulations To Cut Down On Workplace Mutations

WASHINGTON—In an attempt to address the troubling number of genetic transformations occurring in workplaces across the nation, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration unveiled new regulations this week aimed at reducing on-the-job mutations, sources confirmed.

Brita Unveils New In-Throat Water Filters

OAKLAND, CA—Representatives from Brita, the nation’s bestselling brand of household water filtration products, held a press event Wednesday to unveil a new line of filters designed to be installed directly inside users’ throats.

Upcoming Changes To U.S. Currency

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew recently announced a series of significant changes to U.S. currency. Here are some of the more notable alterations on the horizon

How The GOP Plans To Stop Trump

In response to Donald Trump’s growing presidential primary lead, here’s how Republican Party leaders are ramping up efforts to prevent him from getting enough delegates to win the nomination outright.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Holidays

Surprises

  • Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

    DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

U.S. Citizen Resigns After Making Controversial Remark About Country

Experts say that if Nellson had apologized sooner, it is likely he would have only had to suspend his citizenship for six months.
Experts say that if Nellson had apologized sooner, it is likely he would have only had to suspend his citizenship for six months.

MATTOON, IL—Ending the firestorm of controversy that erupted after he made a highly critical comment about the United States, 43-year-old hardware store employee Keith Nellson bowed to public pressure Wednesday and announced he would be stepping down as an American citizen, effective immediately.

Last month, when Nellson was heard in a YouTube video of a friend's birthday party remarking that "this country really needs to get its act together," the gaffe quickly went viral and led to extensive coverage across all major news outlets. Soon protesters were surrounding his home around the clock and calling for him to relinquish his citizenship.

The Mattoon High School graduate addressed the media at a press conference on his front lawn early Monday morning.

"First of all, I would like to offer my deepest apologies to anyone I may have hurt with my comments," said Nellson, flanked by his wife and two children, who have supported him throughout the ordeal. "While I truly love America, I believe the best thing I can do right now—for my family and for my nation—is to resign as U.S. citizen. After the distraction of these past few weeks, I hope my decision will allow the United States to resume its pursuit of all the things that make it the best country in the world."

Added Nellson, "I also hope that one day the American people can forgive me for my thoughtless words."

Though Nellson initially claimed his quote was taken out of context, criticism continued to mount, and when he was confronted by reporters last week during his afternoon shift at the town's Ace hardware store, it seemed there was little he could say or do to assuage the growing antipathy toward him.

In a Gallup poll conducted shortly before his resignation, 93 percent of U.S. residents described Nellson's comments as "reprehensible" and "entirely unbefitting a United States citizen," with 87 percent agreeing the time had come for him to step down from his citizenship.

"While I do believe Keith Nellson cares for this country and its core values, the reality is there's no 'right' context for someone in his position to be saying the things he said," CNN political analyst Jack Cafferty said. "By handing over his passport and constitutionally afforded native citizenship, Mr. Nellson did the right thing, and I'm glad he chose to do so graciously and with what appeared to be sincere remorse."

Adding to Nellson's struggles was the discovery of prior negative comments he reportedly made about the United States. The Wall Street Journal published an account of him saying to a neighbor, "Jesus Christ…this country," after a discussion of rising gas prices. Even more incriminating was a 2008 incident in which Nellson allegedly said to members of his bowling team, "I tell you, America's really going down the tubes."

Making matters worse, longtime friend and local plumber Evan Klinner, 45, was forced to rescind his public support for his former high school classmate after his statement that Nellson was "a good guy and didn't mean anything by it" was swiftly pounced on by the national media.

"It's a classic tale of a flawed individual; worthy, I think, of Greek tragedy," said media analyst Brian Jacoby, who is currently writing a book on the 43-year-old suburbanite's fall from grace. "Nellson opened a Pandora's box and found that, in our 24-hour media culture, there was very little he could do to close it back up again. We can debate as much as we like whether there was any merit in his comments—and I'm sure millions will—but in the end it won't save his citizenship."

Nellson told reporters that despite "what is really just a big misunderstanding," he still loves the American people.

"The past 43 years have been truly incredible, and I wouldn't trade my time as a U.S. citizen for anything," said Nellson, holding back tears. "But when 300 million of your countrymen are asking for you to stand down, then I guess you have to decide what's best for everyone, even at great personal sacrifice."

Despite his voluntary exile, many have speculated it is too soon to rule out the possibility of a relationship between Nellson and the United States of America in the future.

"Trust me, this is not the last we'll be hearing from Keith Nellson," Jacoby said. "In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if in, a few years time, after everything has died down, he tries to make a run at becoming an American citizen again."

Added Jacoby, "After all, America loves a second act."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close