A Charlottesville newspaper is apologizing about a published racist rant and is changing its policy for printing reader comments.
Tuesday's edition of C-Ville Weekly includes a paragraph apologizing for the rant that sparked a protest outside the paper's downtown office Monday.
The paper says it regrets the error and the hurt it caused, but protestors argue this is not enough.
"They can stop anonymous comments. I think they need to take responsibility. They're not just exposing racist extremism that exists, but they're helping create it by giving an anonymous platform where people don't have accountability for their words," said Jeff Winder, who helped organize Monday's protest.
C-Ville Weekly's editor Giles Morris says the paper is starting a new policy that sexist, racist, or hate rants will not run in the paper. In an email to NBC29, the editor said the new policy is as follows:
"The Rant is a verbatim transcription of callers' comments, with little exception. Rants that are sexist, racist, or in any way espouse points of view motivated by hate will not run in the paper. Names of specific businesses and individuals are blanked. The views expressed in The Rant are strictly the callers', and do not reflect the policy or opinion of C-VILLE Weekly."
The next policy will take effect in next Tuesday's paper.
To read protesters' response to C-Ville Weekly's new policy, read below.
Protest Organizer Responds to C-Ville Weekly Rant:
Charlottesville, VA - Several dozen diverse protesters gathered at the offices of Cville Weekly to demand an apology for a racist diatribe that appeared in print and a commitment to a change in editorial policy to make sure it would not happen again. Editor Giles Morris came outside to read a prepared statement of apology, but was resistant to answering protesters questions. He refused to explain the mechanics of the editorial process that should have vetted this comment or to commit to any changes that would ensure it would not happen again.
"If this apology was sincere he would have taken time to answer our questions about how this happened and what changes he would make, but he basically blew us off. This is not over - I'm in this for the long haul," said protest organizer Dierdre Gilmore a lifelong African-American resident of Charlottesville who has raised her children and grandchildren here.
The quote, which appeared in the section called "the Rant" in which editors select from anonymous messages left on voicemail to appear in print follows: "To all you black motherf#$%ers running up here to the Charlottesville restaurants looking for free food, we wouldn't be known as a restaurant, we would be know as a food bank. So, from now on when you bring your black ass into a restaurant in Charlottesville and want free food, carry your asses to a food bank. Thank you."
Organizers maintain that Cville Weekly shares a burden of responsibility for creating this hate speech by providing an anonymous public platform to extremists allowing them to spew dangerous hate speech with no accountability and giving them easy access to an audience that they would otherwise have no way to attain.
"The editorial staff of Cville Weekly really need to educate themselves about structural racism and their role in it. I was disgusted to witness this white man arrogantly explaining to people of color why it was ok for him to print racist hate speech that targets them," said Jeff Winder, a community organizer with the Wayside Center for Popular Education. He continued, "This is far from over. We'll be meeting during the coming days to develop on ongoing strategy to put an end to this irresponsible and destructive practice."
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