C-SPAN’s tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death was sullied Wednesday when a handful of racist viewers called in to spew their bigotry and hate.
To commemorate the civil rights icon’s demise, C-SPAN host Pedro Echevarria asked callers to describe the legacy King left behind. There were those who had glowing memories of the Georgia pastor and his successes in the fight for social justice. Then, there were others who just couldn’t help but insert their racist two cents.
For instance, a woman named Anita from Arkansas called in to complain about how enough attention wasn’t being paid to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. After a reminder from Echevarria that the show’s focus was the 50th anniversary of King’s death, Anita commented that his legacy “was that people need to try to work together and get along.”
“And I will tell you, here in Magnolia, the Black people are more prejudiced against whites than we are against them,” she said before the C-SPAN host hung up on her mid-sentence.
Patrick, a caller from Trenton, N.J., said King’s legacy reminded him that “Blacks burned the town down after he was killed.”
“So, this idea that King was a man of peace and gentle and wanting just to do things the peaceful way — our town got burned down,” Patrick said. “What you do is when you raise one group up, the Blacks’ so-called civil rights, you’re [then] taking privileges away from another group.”
‘[The] real meaning of this day — you have to look at it,” he added. “It’s James Earl Ray, the lone-wolf assassin. He had a dream and James Earl Ray’s dream came true.”
Echevarria quickly cut the man off before taking another call from a viewer named Robert in Florence, Kent. Much like the other callers, Robert made derogatory comments about King, including claims that his doctorate degree was fake. He also claimed the civil rights leader was a plagiarist who stole his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from another Black pastor.
He was also “a philanderer,” Robert added. ” There’s a reason the FBI — I’m sorry, a judge, a pro-King judge sealed the FBI’s files on Dr. King … or should I say Michael King, which is actually his real name. The fact that he was bugged in that hotel the night before [he was murdered], there is a reason why the judge sealed the file because he was beating up on prostitutes which he routinely saw. This was known…”
Echevarria ended the call-in segment there.
Here more of the outrageous calls above.