‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author and Middletown native J.D. Vance quits firm after tweets

MOREHEAD, Ky. — “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance has resigned from the board of a company that uses green technology to mass-produce food in Appalachia, days after sending some controversial tweets.

Vance was an early investor in AppHarvest, a mega-greenhouse company that produced its first tomatoes this year at a 300-employee facility in Morehead, The Herald-Leader reported.

But Vance also is being floated in Ohio as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, and he's drawn criticism online for his opposition to corporations that are protesting GOP efforts in multiple states to change voting laws.

Vance said in a recent Twitter post that states should “raise their taxes and do whatever else is necessary to fight these goons.” He also praised Fox News host Tucker Carlson, calling him “the only powerful figure who consistently challenges elite dogma — on both cultural and economic questions."

Asked about Vance's online commentary, AppHarvest spokesman Travis Parman said “it would not be appropriate for me to discuss his motivation” for leaving the board.

The AppHarvest board of directors also includes TV star and businesswoman Martha Stewart.

Vance is a 2003 graduate of Middletown High School. The movie version of his book, directed by Ron Howard and starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams among others, was released last year on Netflix.

At the time, he said it was “surreal” to see that story in movie form.

“I’ve definitely gotten a little more used to it but its still pretty surreal,” Vance said around the time of the movie’s release. “I don’t think I’ll ever quite get used to seeing Mamaw on the screen. Just seeing how close how close she looks to the actual person, who was of course, an important factor in my life.”

Vance said the experience of watching the Ron Howard-directed movie being produced was something his family tried to enjoy as much as they could.

He said most of the family looked at it as “one of those weird life experiences that’s only going to happen only once so we might as well enjoy it. But it’s definitely been surreal.”