A controversial Facebook post about First Lady Michelle Obama has sparked outrage after involving a town mayor in West Virginia.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor, who runs a local non-profit group in Clay County, wrote on Facebook: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”
Clay Mayor Beverly Whaling responded with “just made my day Pam”.
Beverly Whaling is mayor of the town of Clay, which has a population of just 491.
Clay has no African American residents, according to the 2010 census. In Clay County as a whole, more than 98% of its 9,000 residents are white.
Despite the small population in the region, the controversial Facebook post spread across US and international media outlets.
A petition calling for both women to be sacked has collected more than 85,000 signatures.
According to the Washington Post and New York Daily News, Pamela Ramsey Taylor was removed from her position on November 14.
Pamela Ramsey Taylor told local news outlet WSAZ, which first carried the story, that she acknowledged her Facebook post could be “interpreted as racist, but in no way was intended to be”, and that she was expressing a personal opinion on attractiveness, not the color of a person’s skin.
She told the news station she was considering legal action for slander against unnamed individuals.
The Clay County Development group, of which Pamela Ramsey Taylor is the director, is partly funded through state and federal grants, and the group provides services to elderly and low-income residents.
In a statement given to the Washington Post, Mayor Beverly Whaling said: “My comment was not intended to be racist at all” and apologized for the comment “getting out of hand.”
“I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not of any way racist!” the mayor said.
Owens Brown, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People West Virginia chapter, said it was “unfortunate that people still have these racist undertones”.
West Virginia Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore issued an apology to Michelle Obama “on behalf of my fellow Mountaineers”, referring to a nickname for inhabitants of the state.
“West Virginia truly is better than this. These radical, hateful, and racist ideals are exactly what we at the West Virginia Democratic Party will continue to fight against,” she said in a statement.
West Virginia voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election with 68.7% of the vote.
Chris Rock has been widely criticized for a joke he made while hosting this year’s Oscars ceremony, at the expense of Asian-Americans.
Activists accused the comedian of perpetuating racial stereotypes when he introduced a group of accountants, who turned out to be three Asian children in suits.
Chris Rock has been generally praised for the way he dealt with the absence of black artists among Oscar nominees.
The 88th Annual Academy Awards ceremony had been boycotted by some Hollywood figures.
All 20 nominees in the best acting or supporting acting categories were white.
Chris Rock had addressed the controversy during his hosting of February 28 Academy Awards ceremony, commenting that he had “counted at least 15 black people” in the montage that opened the ceremony, before welcoming people to the “white People’s Choice awards”.
The skit involving the three children was an apparent reference to Asians being good at maths. One of the children was also given a Jewish surname.
Chris Rock then said: “If anybody is upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone, which was also made by these kids.”
Critics say the punch line was another stereotype, about child labor in Asia.
Chris Rock’s publicist Leslie Sloane said on February 29 that the star was unavailable for comment.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also did not comment.
The masked attacker who killed a teacher and a student at a school in Sweden had “racist motives”, police believe.
Police chief Niclas Hallgren said they had based their conclusion on what was found at the killer’s apartment and “his behavior during the act”.
According to media reports, the 21-year-old attacker had far-right sympathies.
Armed with a sword and wearing a helmet and mask, the man stormed a school in Trollhattan, near Gothenburg, before being shot dead by police.
“We can confirm that this was a racially motivated hate crime partially because the man chose his victims based on the color of their skin,” Niclas Hallgren told Swedish Radio.
The helmet he wore was similar to German World War Two soldiers’ helmets.
He was seen posing for a photograph with students, who thought he was dressed for Halloween, before going from classroom to classroom at the Kronan School.
A teacher and 17-year-old boy died from stab wounds, while another male student, 15, and 41-year-old teacher remain in serious condition in hospital.
The attacker’s name has not yet been released by police, though they say he was local to Trollhattan. He did not have a criminal record, police say.
However, the Swedish daily Expressen and other Swedish media named him as Anton Lundin Pettersson, aged 21.
The young man had allegedly joined a campaign to push for a referendum on whether Sweden should continue accepting migrants.
Sweden has reacted with shock to the killings. Before visiting the scene of the attack, Swedish PM Stefan Lofven said it was a “black day” for the country.
“School is supposed to be the place for learning, play and curiosity and friendship and therefore this is a tragedy that affects the whole country,” Stefan Lofven told reporters.
King Carl Gustaf of Sweden said he was “in shock” and that he had learned of the events in Trollhattan “with great dismay and sorrow”.
Dozens of people gathered outside the school building on October 22 to pay their respects to the victims and place flowers and candles on the ground.
Some residents of the town who were holding a vigil held up posters that read “why kill?”
Swedish media reports say the suspect’s accounts on Facebook and YouTube suggest he had an interest in Hitler and Nazi Germany, as well as hostility to Islam and immigration.
“He was a loner. He played video games, lived in his own world,” a former classmate told Expressen.
Eyewitnesses described scenes of chaos, with the attacker knocking on the doors of at least two classrooms and attacking two male students who opened them. One of the boys later succumbed to his injuries.
None of the victims have been identified by police.
Police were alerted to the attack at around 10:10 local time on October 22, and later gunned down the attacker in the hallway outside a classroom.
The Kronan school has about 400 students aged between six and 15, including many children of immigrants.
Trollhattan is an industrial town in west Sweden, located about 50 miles north of Gothenburg, the nation’s second largest city.
School attacks are rare in Sweden – with just one incident on record in the past 20 years, in which one student was shot dead.
Marine Le Pen has appeared in court in Lyon, to answer charges of inciting racial hatred, for comparing Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation.
The French National Front (FN) leader made the comments at a rally in Lyon in 2010 when she was fighting for the leadership of the party.
Marine Le Pen’s anti-immigration and anti-EU message is attracting increasing support in France.
Her party is hoping to win two French regions in December local elections.
Outside court, the far-right leader insisted she had not committed any offence and questioned the timing of the trial.
“We’re a month away from a regional election and this affair dates back five years,” she told reporters.
According to an opinion poll at the weekend, her niece, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, could wrest control of the key southern region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur (Paca) from the governing Socialists.
Alarm at the rise of the National Front (FN) prompted President Francois Hollande to warn France not to take the risk of backing the far right.
“Don’t play with this way of voting just to send a message, just because of unhappiness and anger,” the president told French radio.
“For investors, for external trade, jobs and growth, there will be consequences.”
Marine Le Pen took over the FN leadership in 2011 and has since tried to steer the party away from its racist and anti-Semitic past.
It was during a campaign speech in December 2010 that she told FN supporters: “I’m sorry, but some people are very fond of talking about the Second World War and about the occupation, so let’s talk about occupation, because that is what is happening here.”
“There are no tanks, no soldiers, but it is still an occupation, and it weighs on people.”
The phenomenon of street prayers emerged when French Muslims were unable to find space in mosques, and after a political outcry the practice was banned in Paris in 2011.
Marine Le Pen was investigated for her public remarks and she was eventually stripped of her immunity from prosecution by the European Parliament in 2013.
Ahead of the trial, Marine Le Pen made clear that she would use the occasion to defend her right to freedom of expression.
She is accused of incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred towards a group of people because of their religious affiliation and if found guilty could face up to a year in jail and a fine of €45,000 ($51,000).
The French Council of the Muslim Faith said Marine Le Pen’s remarks had fed a climate of Islamophobia.
President Barack Obama has used the “n-word” during an interview to argue that the US has yet to overcome its issues with racism.
“Racism, we are not cured of it,” the president said.
“And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n***er in public.”
The radio interview came days after a mass shooting in South Carolina which police believe was racially motivated.
Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at the funeral of one of the men killed.
Clementa Pinckney, a personal friend of the president, was state senator and pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston where the attack took place.
In the interview, Barack Obama also lamented Congress’ lack of will to enact stricter gun controls.
“It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination,” he told comedian Marc Maron in a podcast.
“Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
Barack Obama acknowledged that attitudes about race in the US have improved since his childhood, but he said that America’s history of enslaving black people “casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on”.
The president has publicly used the n-word before but not as president. He used the word several times in his book Dreams from my Father.
Nine black worshippers were killed by gunman Dylann Roof during a bible study group at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Dylann Roof has been pictured holding the Confederate flag, a symbol used by southern states in the civil war when they tried to break away to prevent the abolition of slavery.
The shooting has restarted a debate over a Confederate flag that flies on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and others have called for the flag to be removed, calling it a symbol of racism.
President Barack Obama did not reference the flag in the interview, but he said on June 19 that the flag belongs in a museum and should not be flown.
Charleston Emanuel AME Church in which nine parishioners were shot dead by Dylann Storm Roof on June 17 is to reopen for services on Sunday, June 21.
Members of South Carolina’s African-American church met again on June 20 in the room where their friends died earlier this week.
Many more people are expected to attend the service at 09:00 AM on Sunday.
Meanwhile, police are investigating an online post, possibly by gunman Dylann Roof, that appears to outline his motivation for the attack.
One of those who attended Saturday’s meeting, Harold Washington, said the church’s doors would be open to all on Sunday.
“We’re gonna have people come by that we’ve never seen before and will probably never see again, and that’s OK,” Harold Washington said.
“It’s a church of the Lord – you don’t turn nobody down.”
Survivors say Dylann Roof spent close to an hour attending a church service on June 17 before opening fire.
Crowds gathered outside the historic church on Saturday to hear pastors from across the US lead prayers. Many travelled hundreds of miles from across the country to pay their respects.
A rally was also held in Charleston by the Black Lives Matter movement, which began after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman over the killing of an unarmed African-American teenager, Trayvon Martin.
In South Carolina’s capital, Columbia, protests took place to demand the removal of the Confederate flag from the capitol building.
The flag was a symbol used by southern states in the civil war, when they tried to break away to prevent the abolition of slavery.
It is viewed by many as a sign of the white supremacy advocated by those states at the time.
The protest followed President Barack Obama’s remark that the flag belonged “in a museum”.
Protesters chanted “Take it down” and sang We Shall Overcome, an anthem of the black civil rights movement.
On June 19, South Carolina’s Republican state representative Doug Brannon told MSNBC that he planned to introduce legislation to remove the Confederate flag.
On June 20, images emerged on a website showing Dylann Roof posing with the Confederate flag. In others, he is seen burning the US flag and visiting a former slave plantation.
President Barack Obama has condemned racism as “a blight” on the American society after white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans in a South Carolina church.
Police are treating the killings at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17 as a hate crime.
Dylann Roof, 21, appeared in court on June 19 to face nine murder charges.
He showed no emotion as relatives of the victims addressed him directly.
“I forgive you” said one victim’s daughter, fighting back tears.
Speaking in at the US Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, President Barack Obama said: “The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together.
“We have made great progress, but we have to be vigilant because it still lingers.
“And when it’s poisoning the minds of young people, it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart.”
The president also praised the families of the victims for the forgiveness they had shown.
Barack Obama said it was “an expression of faith that is unimaginable but that reflects the goodness of the American people”.
He also called for a new debate on gun control, and pushed Congress to follow public opinion.
“It’s not enough for us to express sympathy; we have to take action,” the president said.
A previous proposed bill banning assault weapons failed to win backing in the Senate.
At a Charleston sports arena, thousands gathered on June 19 to remember the victims with prayers. They joined hands to sing We Shall Overcome.
Ahead of the vigil, Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley said: “A hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea he’d be able to divide, but all he did was unite us and make us love each other even more.”
A steady stream of people also brought flowers to place at a memorial in front of the church.
Dylann Roof family earlier released a statement through their lawyer.
“Words cannot express our shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night. We are devastated and saddened by what occurred,” the family wrote.
“We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims’ families offering God’s forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering.”
In court in Charleston on June 19, Dylann Roof spoke to confirm his name, age and address and said he was unemployed.
Then relatives were invited by the judge to come forward and speak.
Speaking to graduates at Tuskegee University in Alabama, Michelle Obama has talked about having to fight misperceptions when Barack Obama started running for president in 2008.
First Lady Michelle Obama says she had to deal with more scrutiny, because of the color of her skin.
On her commencement speech at the university, Michelle Obama described the kind of focus she found herself under.
“Back when my husband started campaigning for president, folks had all sorts of questions of me,” the first lady said.
“What kind of First Lady would I be, what kind of issues would I take on?” she said.
“The truth is those kind of questions would be posed to any candidate’s spouse, that’s just the way the process works.
“But as potentially the first African-American First Lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations, conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others.
“Was I too loud, or too angry? Or too emasculating? Or was I too soft?
“But eventually I realized, if I wanted to keep my sanity, and not let others define me, there was only one thing I could do, and that was to have faith in God’s plan for me.”
Michelle Obama added: “I love our daughters more than anything in the world, and that may not be the first thing some folks want to hear from an Ivy League educated lawyer, it is truly who I am.
“By staying true to the me I’ve always known, I’ve found that this journey has been incredibly freeing, because no matter what happened I had the peace of mind of knowing that all of the chatter, the name calling the doubting, all of it was just noise.
“It did not define me, it didn’t change who I was, and most importantly it couldn’t hold me back.”
Michael Brown’s parents are suing Ferguson authorities over their son’s death.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead by Ferguson police in August 2014.
The wrongful-death suit seeks a minimum of $75,000 compensation.
The shooting of the unarmed Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in Missouri became a national cause and sparked protests, some violent.
The shooting was reviewed by a grand jury, which decided in November not to charge Darren Wilson.
However, Michael Brown’s parents say they have new forensic evidence that raises questions about the police version of events.
“The narrative of the law enforcement all across the country for shooting unarmed people of color is the same: That they had no other choice,” attorney Benjamin Crump said.
“But time and time again, the objective evidence contradicts the standard police narrative.”
Along with seeking punitive damages from the City of Ferguson, the suit also calls for a court order prohibiting the use of police techniques “that demean, disregard, or under-serve its African-American population”.
A St Louis County grand jury and the Department of Justice had declined to prosecute Darren Wilson, who resigned in November. Civil cases generally require a lower standard of proof than criminal cases.
This is not the only current civil case involving the police killing of an unarmed black man. In New York, the family of Eric Garner is seeking $75 million in damages.
McDonald’s is being sued in Virginia by ten former employees for racial discrimination.
The suit alleges that some employees were fired from one franchise because there were “too many black people”.
It is being backed by a group campaigning for better wages for fast-food workers and the local Virginia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
McDonald’s has not yet commented specifically on the suit.
The company issued a general statement, saying: “McDonald’s has a long-standing history of embracing the diversity of employees, independent franchisees, customers and suppliers, and discrimination is completely inconsistent with our values.
“McDonald’s and our independent owner-operators share a commitment to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants.”
The suit is part of a continuing effort on the part of labor organizers to hold McDonald’s responsible for the behavior of its franchisees.
McDonald’s and other restaurant groups have argued that it should not be held responsible for the behavior and labor practices of franchisees.
However, their position has been weakened by the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
It ruled that McDonalds “could be held jointly liable for labor and wage violations by its franchise operators” in July.
Since then, current and former employees have filed lawsuits against many McDonald’s franchises and the larger corporation alleging wage theft and other illegal practices.
In the lawsuit filed in Virginia on January 22, which is not part of the NLRB’s larger activity, 10 former employees – nine of whom are African-American and one of whom is Hispanic – allege that they were subject to “rampant racial and sexual harassment” by supervisors at three restaurants run by McDonald’s franchisee Michael Simon.
Michael Simon became franchise operator of the three restaurants in late 2013, when the majority of the employees at the restaurants were African-American.
Soon after, the suit alleges Michael Simon instituted a plan to hire more white employees, with supervisors allegedly telling employees that the restaurants were “too dark” and they needed to hire new employees to “get the ghetto out of the store”.
Subsequently, in mid-2014, a large number of white employees were hired and several of the African-American employees who are part of the suit were fired.
The fired workers alleged that when they attempted to contact McDonald’s corporate office, there was no response.
McDonald’s is due to report its Q4 2014 earnings before US markets open on January 23.
Michael Jordan offered some comments of his own about race, in a biographic book, Michael Jordan: The Life, released Tuesday.
Michael Jordan: The Life is a biography of the former NBA star written by Roland Lazenby.
In the book, Michael Jordan explains how growing up in an area of North Carolina heavily influenced by the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s and ’70s shaped his views on race and they were far from what would be viewed as politically correct.
Michael Jordan offered some comments of his own about race, in his biographic book, Michael Jordan: The Life
Reportedly, these views really took shape shortly after Michael Jordan watched the iconic television miniseries Roots, and after a girl at his school called him the N-word in 1977.
“So I threw a soda at her,” Michael Jordan says in the book.
“I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people.”
The book also includes anecdotes of Michael Jordan’s time on the school baseball team, when he was one of only two black players and was called inferior while on the team.
In many ways, the book serves as a testament to Michael Jordan’s drive, which many people close to him believe was fueled by negative experiences, particularly in his early life.
Michael Jordan was among the first NBA owners and high-profile figures in the sport to go on record against Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments when they were first released, issuing this statement: “I look at this from two different perspectives — as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly. As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”
Cecile Kyenge, Italy’s only black cabinet minister, has called for more support as she endures relentless non-violent racist attacks.
She is in charge of efforts to integrate immigrant communities into wider Italian society and is frequently targeted by right-wing opponents.
Cecile Kyenge said Italy’s institutions and political establishment must do more.
“Politics must stand up as one and condemn racism lest it become a dangerous weapon that can kill democracy,” the Congolese-born MP said.
Cecile Kyenge has faced a torrent of abuse since her appointment in April from the right-wing Northern League party and its supporters.
The League’s newspaper, La Padania, has just begun publishing her daily itinerary – presumably so that the hecklers will always know where to find the minister.
Last year, one of its most senior figures likened her to an orangutan. Another accused Cecile Kyenge of wanting to impose “tribal traditions” on Italy.
One of the League’s councilors even called for the minister to be raped.
Cecile Kyenge has called for more support as she endures relentless non-violent racist attacks
Cecile Kyenge has been heckled, and had bananas thrown at her during political rallies.
She has now called for action.
“Our constitution is a strong tool to fight racism, but it’s never used.
“The country must react in response to these acts, which must be recognized for what they are, that is, acts of racism and discrimination,” Ansa news agency quoted Cecile Kyenge as saying.
In a newspaper interview, Cecile Kyenge said that, as a black woman, who had studied and become a minister, she had challenged the prejudices of the most intolerant people.
But she made clear that she would continue to do her job. If she backed down she would hand victory to her opponents.
Members of Cecile Kyenge’s Democratic Party and other centre-left politicians have called for the League’s newspaper feature Here’s Cecile Kyenge to be pulled, describing it as “tantamount to intimidation”.
La Padania‘s editor said the information was in the public domain anyway.
In a separate development, police confirmed that a suspicious powder mailed to Cecile Kyenge on Wednesday was baking soda. The package was intercepted at a mail-processing centre.
Bob Dylan has been placed under judicial investigation in France for allegedly provoking ethnic hatred of Croats.
The move follows a legal complaint lodged by a Croat association in France over a 2012 interview Bob Dylan gave to Rolling Stone magazine.
In the interview Bob Dylan allegedly compared the relationship between Jews and Nazis to that of Serbs and Croats.
Bob Dylan, 72, was served notice of the investigation last month.
At the time the singer was in Paris to receive the Legion of Honor, a prestigious French award.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Bob Dylan was sharing his thoughts about US history and the country’s racial divide.
Bob Dylan has been placed under judicial investigation in France for provoking ethnic hatred of Croats
The singer is reported to have said: “Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that.
“If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
During WWII, the Croat Ustashe fascist movement killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and others in their death camps.
Croats and Serbs also fought each other during the break-up of Yugoslavia, in a 1991-1995 war that left around 20,000 people dead.
After the interview was published, the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) filed a complaint.
Being placed under judicial investigation means that authorities are taking the complaint seriously, but that it won’t necessarily go further.
Bob Dylan, who played concerts in Serbia and Croatia in 2010, rose to fame in the 1960s partly for his support of the US civil rights movement.
Trudie Goetz, the owner of Zurich store where Oprah Winfrey says she encountered racism, has called the incident a “misunderstanding”.
Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s richest women, claimed an assistant refused to serve her in an upmarket handbag shop.
She was apparently told one of the bags on display was “too expensive” for her.
Trudie Goetz told the BBC that Oprah Winfrey was “absolutely allowed” to look at the $35,000 bag, which was kept behind a screen.
“My salesperson wanted to give her the handbag in her hand. But she didn’t want to take the bag,” claimed Trudie Goetz.
The shop owner said her assistant had worked in the Trois Pommes store “for a few years and takes care of the most spoilt customers from all over the world”, adding, “she is really a correct sales person”.
Oprah Winfrey visited Zurich last month to attend Tina Turner’s wedding. Her programme The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Switzerland.
Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s richest women, claimed an assistant refused to serve her in a Zurich upmarket handbag shop
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Oprah Winfrey said: “I go into a store and I say to the woman, <<Excuse me, may I see the bag right above your head?>> and she says to me, <<No. It’s too expensive>>. “
When Oprah Winfrey insisted, the shop assistant allegedly replied: “No, no you don’t want to see that one, you want to see this one because that one will cost too much. You will not be able to afford that.”
The star said she left the shop calmly without arguing, but that the experience was proof that racism continues to be a problem.
“There’s two different ways to handle it,” Oprah Winfrey said.
“I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing… but it still exists, of course it does.”
Trudie Goetz did not call into question Oprah Winfrey’s perception of the events.
“I didn’t take care of [Oprah Winfrey]. I’m sure she felt like this – but my salesgirl promised me she took care of [her] really the best she could. So it must have been a misunderstanding,” she said.
Trudie Goetz said her assistant spoke both Italian and English, “but her English isn’t as good”.
“She tried to show Mrs. Oprah the same style in other qualities, because maybe she didn’t understand what she wanted.”
Oprah Winfrey’s claims come amid a political row over plans by some Swiss towns to ban asylum-seekers from some public places.
Human rights groups have likened the plans – which include banning asylum-seekers from swimming pools, playing fields and libraries – to apartheid.
Officials say the curbs, which will also see asylum-seekers housed in special centres, are aimed at preventing tensions with residents.
About 48,000 people are currently seeking asylum in Switzerland. It has twice as many asylum seekers as the European average.
Paula Deen appeared on the Today show this morning in a last-ditch attempt to save her career in the wake of her racism scandal.
Disgraced chef Paula Deen sobbed as she claimed “very hurtful lies” had destroyed her reputation and insisted that she had only used the n-word once – something she deeply regretted.
Paula Deen added that she believed she should not have been dropped as a representative for Food Network and Smithfield and that other partners “who know who I am” have stood beside her.
“The main reason I am here today is that it’s important to me that I tell you and everyone out there what I believe and how I live my life,” Paula Dee began.
“I believe that every creature on this earth was created equal.
“I want people to know who I am and people that have worked beside me know what kind of person I am. I am so distressed that people I’ve never heard of are suddenly experts on who I am.
“What you see is what you get. I’m not an actress. I’m heartbroken. I’ve had to hold friends in my arms as they’ve sobbed because they know what’s been sobbed about me that’s not true.”
She said that she had used a racist slur on one occasion in a stressful robbery situation, but said that “it was a world ago” and something she regretted.
“If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up a rock and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me,” Paula Deen sobbed.
“I want to meet you. I want to meet you.”
Paula Deen admitted to using the n-word in a deposition that was released last week. On the Today show she said that, even knowing the upset is has caused her career, she would admit the truth if given the choice again.
“There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like – that I am prejudiced against – and that’s thiefs and liars,” she said.
Paula Deen appeared on the Today show this morning in a last-ditch attempt to save her career in the wake of her racism scandal
Paula Deen appeared on the Today show less than a week after she cancelled an interview amid the scandal over her use of racial slurs.
Following her dismissal from the Food Network, meat producer Smithfield announced at the weekend that they will be dropping Paula Deen as their company spokeswoman and will be ending their partnership. The company also sells a line of Paula Deen-branded hams.
The company released a statement saying it “condemns the use of offensive and discriminatory language and behavior of any kind. Therefore, we are terminating our partnership with Paula Deen”.
Another blow came when it was announced over the weekend that she will not be appearing on home shopping network QVC as litigation continues in the discrimination lawsuit.
Paula Deen, 66, became embroiled in the racial controversy when a former employee testified that she heard Deen repeatedly use the n-word and talk of how she wanted to have a plantation themed wedding for her brother with an all-black serving staff to emulate slaves.
After the testimony was released publicly, both Paula Deen and her career have spiraled out of control in a public relations nightmare.
First she released a heavily-edited video on Friday where she spoke directly to her fans, asking for their forgiveness.
Paula Deen was due to follow that up with an appearance on the Today showthat same morning, but cancelled at the last minute leaving co-anchor Matt Lauer to explain on air.
After the initial video was released another, longer one was then posted on YouTube and was taken down soon after.
In this one she explains her absence from the Today show and apologizes “to those that I have hurt”.
Paula Deen says: “I was invited to speak to Matt Lauer about a subject that has been very hurtful for a lot of people.
“Matt I was physically not able this morning, the pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others so I am taking this opportunity, now that i have pulled myself together and am able to speak, to offer an apology for those I’ve hurt.”
Over the weekend, her loyal fans showed their support bylining up in droves to eat at her Savannah, Georgia restaurant, and bash the Food Network on social media.
“Everyone in this nation has used a racist comment at one time or another. She grew up in the South,” Facebook user Maria O’Donnell wrote on the channel’s page.
Over the weekend, more stories about the chef’s alleged racism as a former employee alleged that Paula Deen and her brother regularly called him “my little monkey”.
Another told how as an oyster cook at one of her restaurants the black wait staff were regularly forced to work at her private parties held at her Savannah, Georgia estate without pay.
“Paula and Bubba just gave us beer and alcohol and I don’t even drink. It was insulting and unfair. I was like, <<Pay me!>>,” Sheldon J. Ervin told Radar.
While the Network cut ties to the chef, who headlined three shows on the channel that she has worked with for the past 11 years, QVC has waited to make any final moves.
“QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation. QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior,” vice president Paul Capelli said in a statement.
“We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”
France’s far right National Front leader Marine Le Pen is facing criminal charges for inciting racism.
The French authorities opened a case against Marine Le Pen in 2011 after she likened the sight of Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France.
As a European Parliament member (MEP), Marine Le Pen enjoyed immunity from prosecution.
However, this protection was removed by a European parliamentary committee in a secret vote this week and it appears the vote to remove her immunity was “overwhelming”.
The vote will need to be ratified by the full parliament, but that’s expected to be a formality.
France’s far right National Front leader Marine Le Pen is facing criminal charges for inciting racism
When the parliament’s legal affairs committee first tried to consider the case, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far right National Front party, failed to turn up.
This week she sent a fellow French MEP in her place.
The move clears the way for the French authorities to pursue a case against the leader, who steered Marine Le Pen’s party to a record 18% showing in the first round of last year’s presidential election.
Marine Le Pen made the remarks at a party rally in 2010 in the southern French town of Lyon.
She said that Muslims using the streets to pray because mosques were overflowing was an “occupation” of French territory.
Praying in the streets was banned in Paris in 2011 in response to growing far right protests.
By some estimates, as many as six million French people, or just under 10% of the population, are Muslims, with origins in France’s former North African colonies.
Their integration has been a source of political debate in recent years, and earlier this year France became the first EU state to ban the wearing of the Islamic veil in public.
Australian Rules footballer Adam Goodes has been praised for his uncompromising reaction after a 13-year-old girl shouted out a racist remark to him during a game on Friday night.
Sydney Swans forward Adam Goodes – who is an Aboriginal Australian – was called an “ape” by the girl as he ran past her and responded by turning around and pointing out the girl to security who escorted her from the Melbourne stadium.
Adam Goodes, 33, is the star player for the Sydney Swans but said that the racial abuse he received at the hands of the girl rendered his sides win “meaningless” – such was his disappointment.
“To come to the boundary line and hear a 13 year old girl call me an <<ape>>, and it’s not the first time on a footy field that I’ve been referred to as a <<monkey>> or an <<ape>>, it was shattering,” he told the ABC.
Adam Goodes and the Sydney Swans were playing Collingwood, at their home of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The 13-year-old girl was a Collingwood fan.
Police in Melbourne said that a 13-year-old girl had been interviewed over the incident, but had been released after two hours pending further inquiries.
In the aftermath of the racial abuse that was directed his way, Adam Goodes told the Melbourne Herald Sun: “Racism had a face…and it was a 13-year-old girl. – but it’s not her fault.”
“That’s what hurt me so bad…when I turned around, I just saw this young face and…it was just sad.
“That’s why I had to leave the arena, it just broke my heart.”
Adam Goodes ran past racist girl and responded by turning around and pointing out her to security who escorted her from the Melbourne stadium
Early on Saturday morning, Adam Goodes took to his Twitter feed to announce that the girl had been in touch with him, apologizing for her actions.
Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Adam Goodes explained just how damaging it was for him as an Aboriginal Australian to hear her words.
“I’ve had fantastic support over the past 24 hours,” he said.
“I just hope that people give the 13 year old girl the same sort of support because she needs it, her family needs it, and the people around them need it,” said Adam Goodes to the ABC.
“It’s not a witch-hunt, I don’t want people to go after this young girl.
“We’ve just got to help educate society better so it doesn’t happen again.”
Adam Goodes added that the police in Melbourne had asked him if he wanted to press charges, but that he did not want to – preferring the girl instead undergoes an education program instead.
“It’s not her fault, she’s 13, she’s still so innocent, I don’t put any blame on her,” he said.
“Unfortunately it’s what she hears, in the environment she’s grown up in that has made her think that it’s OK to call people names.
“I guarantee she has no idea right now how it makes people feel to call them an ape.”
Australian PM Julia Gillard described Adam Goodes as “someone we can all look up to”.
“His words and actions today displayed the highest levels of respect and fairness – qualities he carries on and off the field,” the prime minister said.
“Adam is a credit to his club, his code and the entire community.”
The girl who is not being identified told Channel 10 news she was sorry.
“I didn’t mean it in a racist way and I’m sorry to the club and the AFL,” she said.
London police is haunting a woman who launched a tirade of foul-mouthed racist abuse towards another passenger on an eastbound District line train.
The unidentified woman swore repeatedly repeating “If your country is so good, f*** off back there” at a man sitting next to her on the train.
Another passenger filmed the three-minute rant and posted it on YouTube which prompted British Transport Police to launch an investigation into the shocking alleged incident.
While it is unclear what provoked the attack or what the victim says during the video, the woman repeatedly swears, makes rude gestures and stands threateningly over the man
The woman screamed: “You come in this country you f***ing mother f***ers c***. You want everything on a plate f***ing c*** and expect us to take this.
London police is haunting a woman who launched a tirade of foul-mouthed racist abuse towards another passenger on an eastbound District line train
“You are all racist c***s, you want to take over the world.
“You’re so thick you don’t even get it.”
On April 22, the police released an image of the woman. They said the date and time of the alleged attack is unclear. The video was posted on April 11.
Detective Constable Lawrence Murphy said: “We have isolated images of a woman we believe may be able to help us with our investigation into the incident.
“We believe the footage was filmed on an eastbound District line train, which passed through Stepney Green Tube station and Mile End station.
“At this stage, we urge anyone who witnessed this incident, or who recognizes the woman, to get in touch and help us build up a full picture of exactly what took place.
“We treat all allegations of racism very seriously and urge anyone with information about this incident to contact us.”
Anyone with information should contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
In 2012, Jacqueline Williams, 47, was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence after she was filmed hurling racist abuse at train passengers. After the video, which shows a woman taunting a group of black passengers, was posted on YouTube she was arrested.
Many of Americans were upset when Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost the election and most of them used social media to post shockingly racist tweets against President Barack Obama.
A map collected by Floating Sheep, a collective of geography academics, shows the shocking demographic of racist “hate tweets”, many of them collected from states that were won by Mitt Romney.
The majority of the tweets, as Jezebel noted, were often from young white residents in southern states.
One male user wrote on Election Day following Romney’s loss: “Ok we pick a worthless n***** over a full blooded American what the h*** has our world come its (sic) called the white house for a reason.”
Another wrote: “F*** you, Obama. Your (sic) a stupid n***** and you don’t do anything good for our country.”
Using geodata called DOLLY (Data On Local Life and You), Floating Sheep mapped out tweets beginning November 1. They then calculated the percentage of each state’s so-called hate tweets in relation to the gross number of tweets coming out of that state.
Their results showed that states like Arkansas and Mississippi were relatively inundated with racist tweets. However, they measured only the quantity of tweets, noting that a lone Twitter user could be sending out dozens of vitriolic tweets all on their own, thus adding to the location-inspired measure, or LQ.
A map collected by Floating Sheep, a collective of geography academics, shows the shocking demographic of racist hate tweets after Barack Obama re-election
The map also reveals other southern states like Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas had their fair share of people tweeting bigoted things. Floating Sheep noted that both the East and West coast had a lower number of such tweets.
The site noted, too, that the phenomenon wasn’t only in the south – a series of racist tweets trickled up the Eastern Seaboard, and could also be found in Utah and Missouri.
While it was not openly addressed by the candidates on the campaign trail, political pundits have insisted that demographics and race played a huge role in helping Barack Obama keep the White House.
On Election Day, a riot broke out at The University of Mississippi – known as Ole Miss – as more than 400 students yelled out racial slurs and burned Obama-Biden campaign posters after the Democratic incumbent was crowned the victor.
Emotions ran high among the angered college conservatives in Oxford, Mississippi, with university police being called in shortly after midnight to diffuse the crowd.
The incident began as a small gathering of frustrated voters, meeting to share their misery at Barack Obama getting another four years in office, shortly after midnight.
But word soon spread over social media and the crowd began to swell to hundreds of students, yelling out racial slurs, chanting anti-Obama rhetoric and some reportedly throwing rocks at cars.
Police were called and told the crowd to go home but their presence only attracted more attention and the mass began to multiply.
Two students were arrested in the fracas, one for public intoxication and one for failure to comply with police orders, the university confirmed.
“Disperse or go to jail,” University Police Department officers told the crowd, according to the student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian.
But Ole Miss student Nicholas Carr tweeted that the whole thing was being overblown, saying that more people were taking pictures of the so-called riot than actually joining in on the chanting.
“I was there the whole time. No rocks were thrown. There was 1 sign lit on fire. For about 45 seconds,” Nicholas Carr wrote.
“Mostly, it was 100s of college kids who heard the word riot and ran to take pictures and see what it was about. Again, no rocks or missiles thrown.”
But the school’s administration confronted students on Wednesday and blasted Tuesday’s behavior as “a very immature and uncivil approach to expressing their views about the election”, University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones said in statement.
“The gathering seems to have been fueled by social media, and the conversation should have stayed there.”
Songstress Azealia Banks tweeted that she is ”definitely boycotting” Dolce & Gabbana for the “corny, racist” imagery in their spring 2013 collection.
The Italian fashion house raised some eyebrows when they sent an army of all-white models down the runway donning controversial earrings featuring dark-skinned women wearing burlap dresses and plantation-era cornucopias.
“Whoever designed that racist ass Dolce and Gabanna collection needs a swift kick in the mouth and a big d***up the ass,” she tweeted on Saturday.
“I really hate when people do corny, racist things then try to justify it as <<art. It’s all just really unnecessary. the clothes in the collection were fine without all the “black mammie>> imagery” she added.
Azealia Banks says she is boycotting Dolce and Gabbana for the corny, racist imagery in their spring 2013 collection
Dolce & Gabbana representatives said that the imagery used is said to be inspired by their Sicilian roots.