PHOENIX — The head of a local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter has stirred up controversy for allegedly using profane language toward a Phoenix reporter, according to the Phoenix New Times.
Don Harris, president of the Maricopa County NAACP chapter, was approached by Channel 12 reporter Monique Griego as he was leaving a private meeting to discuss a movement banning the use of a racial innuendo after a photo of several local teenagers depicting the slur went viral.
According to the Phoenix New Times, Griego’s cameraman asked Harris if the meeting “fixed anything” in terms of eradicating the word. Harris responded on camera:
“It doesn’t fix anything. We’re on a pathway now to making things better.”
Griego told Harris “Thank you,” before moving on to another meeting participant. Harris, who was then speaking to a New Times reporter, allegedly commented, “Nice t*ts” toward Griego.
The comment was caught on tape, which can be heard on the Phoenix New Times’ website.
New Times reported that Harris said the phrase a second time, although it is not heard in the recording.
After the comments, reporters with New Times called Harris at his office to discuss the incident. He apologized for his actions and “supports” the National Organization for Women.
In a statement, news director of 12 News Sandra Kotzambasis said Griego “does not wish to comment” on the incident.
“As a news organization, my editorial team will treat this story as we would any other story: with a fair, unbiased approach as a part of our normal news gathering,” the statement read. “12 News supports Monique Griego and all of our reporters and photojournalists who cover the people and issues of Arizona for you every day.”
Harris told the Arizona Republic he had offered to resign his leadership post with the civil rights organization.
Harris went to school to discuss a photo depicting six Desert Vista High School students lined up spelling out the N-word on black T-shirts. The photo has gained notoriety across the country over the past week and has also sparked discussion about race issues at the school.
Former Desert Vista High School Principal Anna Battle told KTAR News’ Mac and Gaydos that there were “no race problems” at the school during her 15 years there, while Cicely Cobb, a teacher who taught at the school for two years, claimed there has been a “racial issue” at the school since it opened.
Several NAACP members protested at the school on Monday, calling for the students involved to be expelled and the principal to be fired.
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