NAACP Leader Uses F-Word To Apologize For Using T-Word After N-Word Meeting

"I did something stupid and wrong and I'm sorry for it."

01/28/2016 03:07 am ET
  • Ed Mazza Overnight Editor, The Huffington Post

A local NAACP leader in Phoenix is coming under fire for the sexist behavior he displayed right after leaving a meeting on racial sensitivity. 

Then, shortly after that, he used profanities while apologizing for his actions. 

NOTE: The following text contains strong language.

Don Harris, president of the Maricopa County chapter of the NAACP, attended a meeting at the Tempe Union High School District offices last week to discuss a group of students who had formed a racist slur with letters on their T-shirts

On his way out, reporters asked the 77-year-old attorney and civil rights leader about the meeting, which focused on ways to eradicate the use of the racial epithet.  

"Nice tits," he said to a reporter from Phoenix New Times, referring to KPNX reporter Monique Griego, who was standing nearby. 

The newspaper, which posted audio of the comment online, called him afterward to ask about it. 

"I apologize if anyone was offended," Harris told New Times. "I could have said nothing... I'm really fucking sorry."

But Harris, who also called himself "one of the best goddamned people in the state," was just getting warmed up.

When asked if he would fight against sexist comments in addition to racist ones, Harris told New Times, "I'm going to slash my wrists. Better yet, I'm going to throw myself out of a fucking window, except I'm on the first floor."

The paper said Harris is known for "brash, politically incorrect comments."

Harris offered another apology to ABC 15, adding that he didn't think Griego could hear him when he shared the observation with a male reporter. 

"It was a guy talking to another guy," Harris said. "That still doesn’t make it acceptable."

He told the Arizona Republic that he has offered his resignation to the chapter's executive board if they want it. 

"I said if they want me gone, I'm gone," Harris told the newspaper. "I'm not ducking from anything. I did something stupid and wrong and I'm sorry for it. I can't beat myself forever about it. I said it. And I can't be any more sincere."

KPNX said Griego would not be commenting on the story.  

Harris, who is white, came into his position at the NAACP almost by accident. When Rev. Oscar Tillman retired as head of the chapter in 2014, no one stepped up to run for president. 

Harris, a longtime member of the executive board, told the Arizona Republic last year that he nominated himself in hopes it would get others to run for the position. That didn't work, and he was elected president of the chapter. 

Speaking to the New Times on Wednesday, Harris passionately defended his track record. 

"I've given up my law practice. I'm down here six, seven days a week. That's what my commitment is," he said. "I support NOW, the women's organization -- goddamn! -- are you shitting me? Are you going to write this up?"

 

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