The editor and publisher of a small Alabama newspaper called for the Ku Klux Klan “to night ride again” against tax-raising politicians, prompting a fierce backlash and calls for his resignation.
The editor, Goodloe Sutton, published the editorial in the Thursday edition of The Democrat-Reporter, a weekly newspaper in Linden, Alabama, that had about 3,000 subscribers in 2015. The editorial went largely unnoticed until Monday, when two student journalists shared photographs of it online and local news outlets reported on it.
“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” the editorial began, according to the clips posted online. “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.”
In the editorial, Sutton blamed Democrats for the United States’ involvement in both world wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the nation’s long-running involvement in the Middle East. He confirmed his authorship of the piece in an interview with The Montgomery Advertiser in which he suggested the Klan “go up there and clean out D.C.”
“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them,” he told a reporter from that publication. Sutton could not immediately be reached today.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell, a Democrat whose district includes Linden, which is about 90 miles west of Montgomery and home to about 2,000 people, called on Sutton to apologize and step down.
“For the millions of people of color who have been terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of ‘editorializing’ about lynching is not a joke — it is a threat,” she wrote on Twitter. “These comments are deeply offensive and inappropriate, especially in 2019.”
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., echoed that sentiment, also calling on Sutton to resign over the editorial, which he described as “absolutely disgusting.”
In the interview with The Montgomery Advertiser, Sutton played down the Klan’s long and well-documented history of violence.
“A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” he said. “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”
The Ku Klux Klan is the most infamous white supremacist group in the history of the United States, long serving as a potent symbol of violent hatred against black Americans.