CBS 46 news anchor Sharon Reed Ffires back after racist email
It is a shame that in the world we live in today, racial slurs are still prominant and for one Atlanta news anchor who was insulted by a viewer, she did not just turn the other cheek.
If there was ever a time to interrupt a live television broadcast, Tuesday was it, as all of Atlanta was glued to their TV screens awaiting the results of the city’s mayoral election, being contested by Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Bottoms ended up winning by a narrow 800 votes, but this election was fairly close and if Norwood had have won, it would have marked the first time since 1969 that Atlanta voted for a white mayor.
The results will be made official on Saturday, but many are more interested in what followed the announcement of the winning candidate than they are in the actual race for the title of mayor.
During post announcement discussion on air between local CBS 46’s news anchors Sharon Reed, Ben Swann, and Alicia Roberts, Reed interrupted proceedings after she received an email from Atlanta resident Kathy Rae.
“A woman by the name of Kathy Rae emailed me, we’re going to put that email on the screen and then I’ll comment after it. I think its fair for people to see what she wrote,” Reed announced.
The email message appeared on the screen, and read: “You need to be fired for the race baiting comment you made tonight. It’s o.k. for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites. Really??? you are what I call a N—r not a black person. you are a racist N—r. you are what’s wrong with the world.”
Reed Fires Back
Reed wasted little time in defending herself: “Quite the contrary, we think that race is an authentic discussion to have. It’s one we’re having tonight because it’s one that you are talking about at home and it’s one that has clearly entered the Atlanta mayor’s race. That’s why, behind the scenes, my colleagues and I — white and black — we decided, hey let’s go for it.”
She continued: “When arguing with somebody you have to be careful not to mischaracterize their viewpoint, so I won’t mischaracterize your view either, Kathy Rae. I get it. On Dec. 5, 2017, you think it’s OK to call this journalist a ‘n—-r’. I don’t. But I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead I’ll let your words, Kathy Rae, speak for themselves. And that will be the last word.”
Taking to Facebook later that evening, Reed wrote: “Just another day at the office. Not the first time I’ve been called that word.”
In speaking with the Atlanta Black Star, Reed stated that it was important for her to speak out after receiving the email right away like she did, due to the fact that race did have a role in the election, and that she had to trust in the viewer’s intelligence and life experience.
“Race was woven all through the campaign and plenty of folks here were talking about it,” she said. “And then there is the belief that you have to keep it real. Sometimes you have to just be honest with folks at home and respect their intelligence and life experience. The [n word] exists. Racists exist.
Why sensor that? Especially in a natural, authentic moment like that.”
When asked how other black journalists should handle themselves if they find themselves in a similar situation as she did, Reed stated that black journalists should not feel the need to own it.
We attempted to reach Kathy Rae for comment however she has refused to speak on the record.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca