14:52 GMT25 November 2020
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    Alabama Senator Doug Jones (D) has called for the resignation of an Alabama newspaper editor for publishing an editorial encouraging the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an American white supremacist hate group.

    "OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under?" Jones, a former US attorney who prosecuted two KKK members for the group's deadly 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church, tweeted Monday.

    ​"This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign —NOW!" Jones wrote.

    The editorial was published Thursday in The Democrat-Reporter, a local weekly newspaper in Linden, Alabama, that is owned and published by Goodloe Sutton. The article, titled "Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again. Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama," was written by Sutton, the newspaper's publisher and editor.

    In the article, Sutton wrote, "Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama. They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas. This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people."

    When questioned by the Montgomery Advertiser Monday over his editorial, Sutton doubled down on his remarks.

    "If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out DC, we'd all been better off," he told the paper.

    ​"We'll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them," Sutton told the Montgomery Advertiser when asked what he meant about "clean[ing] up DC."

    "It's not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we're talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?" Sutton added.

    When asked if he agreed that the KKK is a racist and violent organization, Sutton disagreed, comparing the KKK to the the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization in the US.

    "A violent organization? Well, they didn't kill but a few people," Sutton said. "The Klan wasn't violent until they needed to be."

    In the 1990s, Sutton and his wife received national commendation for publishing a series of reports in the Democrat-Reporter shedding light on misused funds and abuse of power related to Roger Davis, a corrupt sheriff in Alabama's Marengo County.

    Sutton was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi's School of Communication Hall of Fame for his articles on Davis.

    However, after the Montgomery Advertiser published a story regarding Sutton's most recent editorial, the university swiftly removed Sutton from the Hall of Fame.

    "Within the last few hours, the School of Communication at the University of Southern Mississippi learned of Mr. Goodloe Sutton's call for violence and the return of the Ku Klux Klan," a University of Southern Mississippi press release states.

    "Mr. Sutton's subsequent rebuttals and attempts at clarification only reaffirm the misguided and dangerous nature of his comments. The School of Communication strongly condemns Mr. Sutton's remarks, as they are antithetical to all that we value as scholars of journalism, the media and human communication. Our University's values of social responsibility and citizenship, inclusion and diversity, and integrity and civility are the foundation upon which we have built our School and its programs," the statement adds.

    A review of the Democrat-Reporter's archived print editions exposes a history of bigoted language, including headlines, like "Homosexuals take black spotlights" and "Selma black thugs murder Demopolite Saturday night." The Democrat-Reporter did not immediately respond to Sputnik's request for comment.


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