CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (TheBlaze/AP) — A Charlottesville weekly newspaper apologized Tuesday for a profane, racist rant that appeared in its publication after dozens of people protested outside its offices.
C-VILLE Weekly Editor Giles Morris apologized to the protesters, and a written apology appeared in Tuesday’s newspaper.
Media outlets report that the comment appeared last week in “The Rant,” a section of the newspaper that publishes anonymous voicemail messages. The comment used profanities and accused local black residents of asking for free food at restaurants.
“To all you black [expletive deleted] running up here in the Charlottesville restaurants looking for free food, we wouldn’t be known as a restaurant, we’d be known as the food bank,” the comment read, according to local NBC affiliate WVIR-TV. “So, from now on when you bring your black [expletive deleted] into the restaurants in Charlottesville and want free food, carry your [expletive deleted] on over to the food bank. Thank you.”
Unedited versions of the rant are making their way around the Internet.
Morris told WCAV-TV: “It’s our responsibility to vet those comments…And we missed that one.”
About 40 people protested and held signs, including one that read “Hate speech isn’t free speech” outside the newspaper.
Jeff Winder, who helped organize the event, said an apology isn’t enough. He and others want the newspaper to discontinue the anonymous comment section.
“People should not be allowed to hide behind The Rant,” protester Deirdre Gilmore told the television station. “If you feel a certain type of way, you need to show your face. It’s dangerous because it gives people the platform for hatred.”
But Morris stood behind the value of anonymous section.
“Sometimes it shows you the ugly side of the community,” Morris said. “That’s not the worst thing for people to be aware of.”
In his apology, which was put on the newspaper’s website Monday, Morris said he regretted the error. It’s the paper’s policy to edit submissions that contain hate or libelous speech, he said.
“Giving voice to racist sentiments is not consistent with the mission of this paper or the aim of The Rant,” the apology read.