A newspaper in Hamlin, West Virginia, has sparked outrage by running a reader’s comments calling for the extermination of gays, African-Americans, Italians, Jews and Catholics—though not in such polite language.
The Lincoln Journal printed a transcript of a voicemail left by an anonymous caller responding to a story about a lesbian middle-school teacher who was fired after she accused the school board of coercing students to complain she tried to “turn them gay.”
“We were really glad to hear that School Board is getting rid of them queers,” the unnamed local opined. “The next thing is we need to get rid of all the n****rs, the spics, the kikes and the wops.”
“You know even them Catholics, they are wrong as baby eaters,” the voice mail continued. “We need to clear them people out and have good, white, God -fearing Christians and everybody else needs to be put to death for their abominations. We’ll keep Lincoln County white and right. Thank you.”
WCHS reports that reaction to the letter, and the subsequent controversy, has been mixed: Hamlin resident Leroy Ramey told reporters, “I don’t have to read it all—I already agree with that. Get rid of them.”
According to the Journal’s media kit, the paper has been in print since 1903, and reaches more than 4,000 paid subscribers.
Managing editor Sean O’Donoghue says the voicemail was definitely offensive, but he doesn’t regret printing its contents: “We felt it was the right call to publish it, given the ongoing story we covered over the past three weeks.”
“We made clear, that while all readers are entitled to their views, we feel pity for people who resort to racial slurs,” O’Donoghue told HuffPost. “People in the county are not shocked to to hear somebody say that. Locally, there’s more of an understanding that there are people in our community capable of such hateful things.”
Was O’Donoghue doing the right thing by exposing hatred in the community, or was he fanning the flames of bigotry?
Make your own statement in the comments section below.