An Alabama newspaper publisher who wrote an editorial calling “for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again” was stripped of an honor at his college on Tuesday.
The University of Southern Mississippi said it removed Goodloe Sutton’s name from its journalism hall of fame due to the “dangerous nature” of the Democrat-Reporter publisher’s comments.
“The School of Communication strongly condemns Mr. Sutton’s remarks as they are antithetical to all that we value as scholars of journalism, the media and human communication,” the school said on its website. “Our university’s values of social responsibility and citizenship, inclusion and diversity, and integrity and civility are the foundation upon which we have built our school and its programs.”
Sutton was inducted in the university’s Mass Communications and Journalism Hall of Fame in 2007 for what the school said were “anti-corruption articles” and editorials from the 1990s that led he and his late wife, Jean Sutton, to earn several journalism awards.
“Mr. Sutton’s subsequent rebuttals and attempts at clarification only reaffirm the misguided and dangerous nature of this comments,” the school said.
Sutton confirmed to the Montgomery Advertiser on Monday that he wrote the editorial for the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama, in which he called for a Klan uprising because lawmakers in Washington “are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.”
“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” Sutton told the Advertiser. “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”
Sutton later specified to the newspaper that he was referring to killing “socialist-communists.”
The newspaper said the publisher doubled down on his comments when asked if he acknowledged the Klan as a white supremacist group, saying that it was akin to the NAACP and that its members weren’t “violent until they needed to be.”
Sutton’s comments have angered many lawmakers, including Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), who called for the publisher’s resignation.
“OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under?” tweeted Jones, who successfully prosecuted two Klan members as an attorney in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing case.
This isn’t the first time the Democrat-Reporter has published racist editorials. In 2016, an editorial called former President Barack Obama the “Kenyan King.” Another editorial a year later talked about the NFL players’ protests against police brutality by saying, “That’s what black folks were taught to do two hundred years ago, kneel before a white man.”
“For the millions of people of color who have been terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of ‘editorializing’ about lynching is not a joke ― it is a threat,” Sewell tweeted. “These comments are deeply offensive and inappropriate, especially in 2019.”