The Westmoreland News, a local Virginia newspaper, is under fire after publishing a hate-filled recruitment ad for the Ku Klux Klan on its front page.
“They posted the whole flyer as if they were giving them free advertising,” Colonial Beach resident Betty Tate Thompson told WTVR. “It even had the number on flyer to contact the head of the KKK. Which I thought was totally ridiculous!”
Westmoreland News in Virginia ( @TheWN ) featured this #racist ad on their front page today. In 2018. In America.
This is unacceptable and should enrage every decent human. #racists #racism #WhiteSupremacy #FightRacism pic.twitter.com/vBTZ7BzThw
— Jennifer Knecht (@_jenniferknecht) April 26, 2018
Police Chief Danny Plott, who had sent the flyer to the paper only to inform them that it was being distributed to dozens of property owners, said he was shocked to see the paper had published it.
“That kind of shocked me, and I wrote them a very strongly worded email,” said Plott.
Plott said the editor called him back with an explanation.
“She explained that she wanted to put it in to show people that those of us in Colonial Beach who may think there’s not racism; there is and I think she didn’t expect for this to blow up the way it did and with this outcome,” explained Plott.
Plot said the calls from upset neighbors have continued to pour in.
“Most of them called and said could you come and get this crap,” Plott said of the community’s reaction.
“Unfortunately, it was racially hateful propaganda… In a free society… you are going to have people that say some pretty disgusting things in my view,” he added.
“They are domestic terrorists… They terrorize communities. Their intent is to get their America back, but you have to think, how are they going to get their America back?” asked one resident.
The paper’s editor added this disclaimer on the page:
“Westmoreland News in no way condones or supports the content or message of this flyer, nor does it condone or support any branch of the Loyal White Knights, or the KKK.”
Many citizens told WTVR that the disclaimer was not enough.
“At this point, the flyer doesn’t even matter. It’s on the front page of the newspaper for everybody to see,” added the resident.
Many told the local station that they will no longer buy the paper and would like to see advertisers pull out.