Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth encouraged citizens to use First Amendment rights to speak out against Goodloe Sutton and The Democrat-Reporter.
The statement follows mass media coverage and responses to an editorial published Feb. 14, 2019, by Sutton in which he wrote the “Klan needs to ride again.”
“During my inaugural remarks, I said Alabama cannot reach its full potential in the eyes of the nation until we embrace our future as well as our past,” Ainsworth said. ” The hateful words published in the Linden Democrat-Reporter can claim no rightful place in the Alabama we know today. They simply represent the thoughts of one obviously misguided newspaper owner.”
Sutton owns the Democrat-Reporter and has printed countless offensive editorials in the paper.
“Just as the First Amendment guarantees the publisher of the Linden Democrat-Reporter every right to publish his offensive, race-baiting editorials, it also guarantees those of us who are offended by his words and the intolerant images they invoke every right to speak out against them,” Ainsworth said.
Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Alabama, the state’s first black House Minority Leader, released a statement on Feb. 20, as well, calling for subscribers of the paper to detach themselves from the publication.
“His ignorance is startling,” Daniels said. “His racist and insensitive writings demonstrate that there are still those among us who are fearful of those who don’t look and think as they do. I call on his readers to cancel their subscriptions and his advertisers to cancel their ads.”
The statements follow responses from Gov. Kay Ivey, Sen. Doug Jones and others, all denouncing Sutton.