WV Newspaper Defends Running Reader’s Call To Kill “Queers, N***ers, Spics, Wops, Catholics And Kikes”

BW_Newspaper_Stack_0A 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.

 h/t : Raw Story,  HuffPo

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  • Mofdgheb

    I have no problem with the public airing of such hatred, as long as the guy doesn’t hide behind anonymity.

    If you are so eager to make your voice heard, you should at least have the guts to leave us with your name and contact info.

  • 2eo

    @Mofdgheb: Agreed, there are people working on getting into their servers, his name and address will be made public soon enough.

    Don’t worry, I will post it here as soon as it is known.

  • sfbeast

    the letter is clearly the rantings of a pea-sized mind. however, the editor wasn’t that great in his response. it would have been better if he had said ‘we hoped it would bring out more comments critical of the things he said’.

  • Steve Rider

    It is the business of a newspaper to inform the community, and in this case the paper made the citizens aware of feedback they received. The newspaper is not responsible for the Jesus-brand hatred in the callers message. The hate is purely the responsibility of the low life cretin who uttered those words.

    I commend the newspaper for revealing the situation as it is.

  • Andrew

    They were right to publish it. If you can’t hear the crazy in it, it’s clear where you stand. The paper would have an opinion section, the paper can comment there and the readers can write in their opinion. It’s a newspaper, it’s there to report the news, opinion can be made in the opinion section.

  • ncman

    Hey Queerty, why do you feel it’s OK to spell out “Spic”, “WOP” and “Kike” but not the n-word? They are all slurs based on race. But. somehow you feel it is OK to disrespect Hispanics, Italians and Jews. Are only African-Americans deserving of respect?

  • Shadeaux

    DAMN! They must have a super miserable life. They hate everyone and then had the nerve to say “GOD fearing…” I wonder how people that stupid survive in society.

  • Cam

    I hate the fact that the media will try to sanitize people like this. They will interview some KKK type rac ist who will have written things like “Kill all N*****s, Q****s, K***s, etc.. And will describe him as “Somebody who feels that affirmative action is wrong”.
    Frankly, I would rather that the idiots and bigots out there are displayed in all their glory for the world to see. Look at how much damage was done to the GOP women’s vote when Congressman Aiken’s statements were spread across all the social media.
    So as far as I’m concerned, let people hear how horrible these folks are. Fred Phelps and the Westborough Baptist church have been fantastic for gay rights. People don’t want to think that they are like that so they move over into the supportive of gay rights column.

  • the other Greg

    I’m surprised nobody is debating whether “queer” is a “bad” word or not, even though that’s ostensibly the reason for this article. Queer is a perennial problem on other gay news sites, but maybe on “Queer”ty everyone agrees it’s a non-issue?

    @2eo: It’s not an anonymous post on the site. The problem with this paper – and many small-town papers – is the editors are actually bothering to TRANSCRIBE anonymous voice-mail rantings. (Pay phones still exist, so someone could do that from a pay phone.) This newspaper phenomenon seems to have started back in the early ’90s, before most newspapers even had websites, and has always seemed unprofessional and insane to me.

  • Dan Avery

    @ncman: I did debate obscuring the other slurs, but decided they are, in 2013, rather obscure—as a Jew I’ve never heard the word “kike” said in my life. Even today, the N-word has the power to incite that other insults do not. (I also followed the lead of other press outlets.)

    I apologize if anyone has been offended by those words.

    Dan Avery

  • Bob

    I agree with others here. You should be able to say whatever you want, but you don’t get to remain anonymous.

  • RSun

    I have been in the publishing industry for 20 years, working for 5 publications in that time. In those years we NEVER published a letter submitted anonymously…let alone a phone call. Ridiculous!
    I suspect the editor printed it because he agreed with its content.

  • SteveWVNYC

    I am actually from a town in West Virginia, about 15 miles from where this paper is published. I am afraid that there are a lot of people there who are just like the person who left the phone message. As far as I am concerned it should not have been published. Had he left his name, address and phone number that would have been different. Most papers will only publish public comments if they the writer or in this case the caller give their information so that it can be verified that they indeed made the comments. As much as I love my home state, I have chosen not to live there. I am tired of fighting the a battle that I can not win.

  • RSun

    @SteveWVNYC: Exactly…only cowards are anonymous.

  • Kieran

    That letter sounds rather tame compared with some of the anti-Catholic stuff some haters on this website regularly rant on about. Hate just begets more hate. It resolves nothing.

  • Bob

    More and more websites are utilizing commenting systems that require registration and don’t allow anonymous comments. I applaud this. I especially like the ones that let you register and sign in with Facebook. I am who I am :)

  • the other Greg

    @Bob: “I am who I am :)” – ??? – I thought Liberace was dead?

    Online comments are another issue entirely. Here we’re just discussing a phone call / answering machine message that somebody wrote down.

    But since you mention FB, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea to give FB a monopoly over political commenting! That’s the lazy way to do it. Reputable news sites like the New York Times and Queerty (lol) make the effort to have their own comment systems, with moderators and allowing screen names, which works fine. It just take a little time and supervision (and in Queerty’s case, a rather mysterious auto-censor).

    If “journalists” have enough time on their hands to transcribe cranky anonymous phone calls, they probably have enough time to monitor online comments.

  • Bob

    Queerty gives you the OPTION to create an account or log in with Facebook. I appreciate the Facebook option because then I don’t have to create an account and password at every site I frequent. Whether you log in with Facebook or create a unique account has nothing to do with how the comments are moderated, just in how you are identified with your comment. I have nothing to hide. If I say it I own it and I mean it. So feel free to come find me on Facebook :)

  • the other Greg

    @Bob: OK! – just don’t call them? :)

    My point was more that some people here seem confused, thinking this is about online comments. No, this could have happened before home computers. It’s a phone call.

  • Bob

    I was going to say that I have NEVER heard of a print newspaper that allows anonymous letters to be printed. I had a letter published in my local paper last Sunday regarding marriage equality and they called TWICE to verify my identity and the contents of the letter prior to publication.

  • RSun

    @Bob: Right! Any reputable publication verifies identification.

  • the other Greg

    @Bob: The call-in page (mostly anonymous) is pretty common in small-town papers. Naturally it skews toward the “old fart” demographic, who mostly don’t own computers anyway. If you’ve never seen one of these pages, the remarks are along the lines of:

    a) those damn blacks
    b) those damn Mexicans
    c) those damn gays
    d) those damn Arabs (probably pronounced Ay-rabs on the phone call)
    e) those damn Democrats
    f) “these kids today” (get off my lawn)!

    I live in a heavily Catholic part of New England so there’s a (g) for anti-Protestant remarks. You’d never see an anti-Catholic remark around here, unlike in Hamlin, West Virginia!

    I’m guessing maybe on the West Coast there is an (h) “those damn Chinese should learn how to drive”?

  • the other Greg

    @the other Greg: Oh, and around here, it’s not so much (b) “those damn Mexicans,” it’s (b) “those damn Brazilians”!

  • Shannon1981

    @the other Greg: With regards to the word “queer,” clearly, context is everything. I mean, it is in the very name of this site, so, I think it is safe to say that most people here do not find it offensive in that context. However, in the context this bigot was using it, it is clearly a slur.


    I did a Google search and found a video about this whole story. Most of the people the news channel asked thought that it should never have been published since it is so hateful; however, the newspaper’s editor defended the newspaper’s choice to publish the piece. This may turn into a huge battle over what can and can’t be published.

  • hf2hvit

    It’s just “christians” being “christian”

  • DonW

    @2eo: Great idea in principle, but how is hacking the newspaper’s servers going to identify the guy? They just transcribed an anonymous voicemail — they don’t even know the his name. He could have called from a pay phone.

  • vklortho

    This guy is calling for the extermination of Italians? By any chance did this guy just travel forward in time from the 19th century?

  • hyhybt

    @Dan Avery: Thank you for spelling them out; too much censoring and it becomes unreadable, especially for anyone who, as I did, has to look up a couple of them to see what they mean.

Comments are closed.