Republican Jill Upson should resign from the House of Delegates over her role in
a radio ad airing in Mississippi and Missouri that warns voters “white
Democrats” will begin lynching
“black folk” if they win office, the state NAACP conference announced Tuesday.
Upson, the Jefferson County lawmaker running for a third term, is the national chairwoman of Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, the North Carolina-based political action committee running the controversial ads.
Late on Friday, Upson released a statement decrying the ad’s “coarse language.”
Owens L. Brown of Wheeling, the NAACP’s state president, said the PAC’s motive in producing the ad is the Republican Party’s “attempt to suppress the black vote by exploiting the racial divide in America.”
It’s “a reverse race baiting tactic to create a hostile environment between black people and white Democrats,” Brown said. “Delegate Upson is well aware of the revisionist historical fact, that the white Democrat of yesterday became the white Republican of today.”
A message to Upson for comment hadn’t been returned at presstime. Keith Lowry, the executive director of the Jefferson County GOP, told a reporter for the Spirit Tuesday afternoon that he wasn’t aware of the ad or the controversy.
The radio ad links the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation to the Supreme Court, which President Trump and other Republicans have called unfounded.
In the ad, two women with voices that are stereotypes of black women discuss the treatment of Kavanaugh, with one saying: “If the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration, and all of her witnesses, including her best friend, say it didn’t happen, what will happen to our husbands, our fathers, or our sons, when a white girl lies on them?”
The second woman responds: “Girl, white Democrats will be lynching black folk again.”
Upson has said she didn’t have anything to do with the ad and had asked for it to be removed. In a Facebook post, she wrote that the ad would not longer air, but The Associated Press reported the PAC had refused to pull the spot.
Black Americans for the President’s Agenda is based in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The ad conjures up a hideous period in American history, Brown said in the statement.
That Upson would be involved with an organization that highlights “the terroristic act of lynching African-Americans and the morally bankrupt exploitation of the death of Emmett Till,” Brown said, “is a sad abdication of her role as a leader and elected official.
The ad was created to run in support of Arkansas Republican Congressman French Hill, who has called for its removal from the airwaves.
The PAC’s ads in Missouri seeks to frighten black voters from the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill by suggesting that she supports lynchings.
McCaskill’s Republican opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, has blasted the ad. “Of course we don’t support this,” said Kelli Ford, a Hawley spokeswoman.