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House floor erupts into chaos after Greer’s “Monkey Email” resurfaces

Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama’s House of Representatives came to a halt again Thursday evening over Representative Lynn Greer’s (R-Rogersville) email that had inspired the ire of some black law makers.

The email sent the House into chaos on Wednesday with the Alabama House Black Caucus calling the email racist.

On the House floor, Representative Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) said she was absent yesterday when Greer’s email became the discussion of the House. She said she received calls from people in the State House wondering where she was and what her response would be to Greer’s email.

Givan gave her response on the floor by speaking about what she calls a “culture of superiority.” She accused Speaker of House Mac McCuthcheon (R-Huntsville) of facilitating a kind of culture where members of the majority don’t treat the minority right.

She said her allies in the House had “been constrained.”

“Their voices have been silenced,” Givan said.

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Givan said this after the House had just finished voting on a Senate redistricting bill which saw multiple delay tactics by Democrats in both the House and Senate. The Democrats have said the redistricting is not fair and even went as far to call the House redistricting plan “unconstitutional.”

Givan then mentioned Greer by name and said she thought his email was racist.

She compared the State House to a “time bomb” waiting to go off if Speaker McCuthcheon didn’t do something about it.

“I didn’t say anything out of the way,” Givan said ending her time at the podium. “I simply made a point.”

Givan’s time then expired and McCuthcheon commented that Givan shouldn’t be using representative’s names while on the floor accusing them. During Givan’s speech, the Speaker hit his gavel many times to call the House to order.

After Givan was off the microphone, she yelled “yesterday we were monkeys,” repeatedly at the Speaker. This was referring to Greer’s email which involved the psychological conditioning of monkeys.

Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) took to the stand to defend Givan’s comments.

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“I understand why Givan had to do what she had to do,” Rogers said.

Rogers said to the Speaker that he had never seen such disrespect in his time at the Statehouse. He said he didn’t accept Greer’s apology that he gave for his email.

“I didn’t see a public apology, I saw an excuse,” Rogers said.

Rogers then told Greer that he may “punch his nose off.”

McCuthcheon called for a recess after Rogers left the podium. He said the House can’t continue with strong emotions on the floor.

“There comes a time when we can’t accomplish business with emotions so high,” McCuthcheon said.

During the recess McCuthcheon and Givan talked on the floor and eventually they all left the chamber.

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They came back after two and a half hours later and started with all the Representatives holding hands to pray for a peaceful end to a contentious session.

Greer then apologized for his email on the House floor.

“Yesterday, I forwarded an email,” Greer said. “It offended many of you. That was not my intent.”

Representative John Knight (D-Birmingham) then took the stand to say that this was one of the worst Sessions he’s ever seen in his tenure at the State House. Knight accepted Greer’s apology and said he hoped it would become a “point of healing.”

Speaker McCuthcheon ended by calling for Representatives to respect one another when coming to the podium. He then committed to Minority Leader Representative Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) that he would work with them.

 

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