The still-not-sorry editor and publisher of an Alabama county newspaper has resigned and turned over control of his publication to a black woman following outrage over his editorial calling for the “Ku Klux Klan to night ride again.”
Goodloe Sutton told the Montgomery Advertiser on Friday that the Democrat-Reporter now has a new “publisher, owner and editor.” He refused to explain whether he had sold the publication in Linden, in western Alabama, or simply turned over control, calling the reporter “dumb” for asking, according to the Advertiser.
He told the Auburn Plainsman on Friday: “I can drink beer and chase women now. They can’t run too fast, or I can’t catch them.”
A news release from the Democrat-Reporter announced that local woman Elecia Dexter became publisher and editor on Thursday. Dexter is African-American and has worked at the newspaper for several years, according to the Plainsman. Dexter told The Associated Press that, although she will run the 3,000-circulation newspaper, Sutton will continue to own it.
The statement said Dexter would continue the newspaper’s 140-year-old tradition of providing “quality news” as well as “moving the paper into a new direction.”
Sutton, 80, wrote in his editorial last week that it was time for “the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again” as he complained about Washington “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.” The white supremacist Klan carried out murderous lynchings and other attacks on black people and their supporters during their night rides.
He later told the Advertiser, “If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off.” Asked to explain what he meant, he responded: “We’ll get the hemp ropes out and loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”
He also insisted the Klan “didn’t kill but a few people” and “wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”
The community had complained for years about the racist perspective of the editorial page, the Advertiser reported.
The statement from the Democrat-Reporter said that the “Sutton family devoted this newspaper to integrity and excellence in journalism which has been led over the past 50-plus years by Goodloe Sutton and his [late] wife, Jean.”
It added that “Ms. Dexter is coming in at a pivotal time for the newspaper and you may have full confidence in her ability to handle these challenging times.”
Sutton had been inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi’s Mass Communications and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007, along with his wife, who died in 2003. The university released a statement earlier this week condemning Sutton and announcing his removal from the hall of fame.
Here’s the Democrat-Reporter’s full statement on Sutton stepping down:
The Democrat-Reporter is pleased to announce effective February 21, 2019, Elecia R. Dexter will be the Publisher and Editor of the newspaper going forward. The Democrat-Reporter has provided the community of West Alabama with quality news for over 140 years and you may have full confidence that Ms. Dexter will continue in this tradition as well as moving the paper into a new direction. We are pleased to make this announcement as her family has strong roots and a rich history in Marengo County where her dad, John Dexter Jr. was born.
She graduated from Eastern Illinois University with her Bachelors in Speech Communication. She continued her academic pursuit by getting her Masters in Human Services from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and her Masters in Counseling from Argosy University. Over the past 10 years, she has been a strategic leader with expertise in human resources, operations and change management.
The Sutton family devoted this newspaper to integrity and excellence in Journalism which has been led over the past 50 plus years by Goodloe Sutton and his wife Jean.
Ms. Dexter is coming in at a pivotal time for the newspaper and you may have full confidence in her ability to handle these challenging times.