BY SARAH STEPHENS
Former Montgomery EXP Realtor Craig Schaid is apologizing for an advertisement that was short-lived after the Montgomery elections this week, but has made the rounds in national and local media, and social media in particular.
“I put something out there with no intention to hurt anyone, but apparently I did. That was not my intention, and I offer a sincere apology to anyone that was offended,” Schaid told the Elmore/Autauga News Oct. 11.
After the election results were clear for Montgomery elections, Schaid posted the advertisement on social media, which asked if you liked the election results. If not, he could help you find a new home.
“What I want people to know is that same advertisement would have been posted regardless of the outcome, and it was not meant to be racist in any way,” Schaid said.
During President Trump’s election in 2016 a lot of realtors had clever marketing campaigns with the same theme, after many people said they would leave the country if Trump won.
“My heart was not to offend or hurt. My big thing at the end of the day is I want to make sure what I say is received in the right way to try to diffuse this situation. The people out there on the fence saying, ‘What was he thinking?’ I want them to understand,” he said.
“I want to offer up an apology to those I offended and hurt. The reason in doing this is I just want to set record straight on what my heart was. My wife and I have had many talks about Steven Reed prior to the election. We don’t live in Montgomery proper and couldn’t vote in the election, but we believed he was the best candidate and would have been our pick if we could have voted. While I borrowed the idea from similar advertisements after Trump was elected, it certainly turned around and got used against me. I understand now how it could be perceived that way and I regret it tremendously.”
Schaid said that initial responses to the ad were positive.
“But after the very first person that was offended and offered a response I took it down immediately. If I hurt one, I didn’t want to hurt the second. I didn’t see it as a racial thing when I put it up there. It was up for an hour maybe an hour and a half. I took it down by 11 p.m. on election night,” he said.
Schaid said he offers newly elected and incoming Mayor Stephen Reed his full support and stands behind him 100 percent.
“I realize and respect that he is the first black Mayor which is significant. But that is not what makes him great. He is competent, he has been in control in the city before and I think he is a viable leader for the city. I pray he moves Montgomery forward,” Schaid said.
Schaid said he is now getting a lot of hate messages nationally and locally, with people telling him to watch his back, along with vulgarities. He was very emotional in talking about how this has impacted his family, and he is scared of putting them in danger.
“But I have also heard from a lot of people, who while they understood how the ad could be questionable, they wanted me to know they are praying for me. In the last 24 hours we have had so much love and support from people that know my heart and know who I am. They have rallied behind me and know that anything racial was not intended. Was it stupid? Absolutely. And no one knows that more than me right now. But people who know me, know this was not intended to hurt or offend.”
Schaid said he is not angry with EXP Realty or the Montgomery Association of Realtors for their decision to remove him. He was allowed to resign from the Montgomery Association of Realtors.
“I have been asked if I am angry, and I absolutely am not. They didn’t do anything wrong. They did what they felt they had to do,” he said.
He said that at this point he is unsure about his employment future, but his main concern is for the safety of his family and the national media attention that his short-lived ad has brought. He said he has learned some hard lessons in a short amount of time.