Atlanta TV journalist Sharon Reed is taking a nod from Rep. Maxine Waters and reclaiming her time.
A viewer named Kathy Rae sent Reed an email on Tuesday questioning her integrity on the coverage of the tight Atlanta mayoral race between Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is Black, and Mary Norwood, who is white. Bottoms, a Democrat, defeated Norwood, who ran as an independent, in a nearly split decision by voters. It is the second time the city of Atlanta will have a Black woman at the helm.
In the email, Rae attempted to degrade the WGCL-TV anchor by calling her the N-word — but misspelled it.
“You need to be fired for race baiting comment you made tonight,” Rae said in an email. “It’s OK for Blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites, really??? You are what I call a Niger not a Black person. You are a racist Niger. You are what’s wrong with the world.”
In a live broadcast after 9 p.m., before the mayoral race was called, Reed shared the email with the viewing audience.
“A woman by the name of Kathy Rae emailed me,” Reed said. “I’m going to put that email on the screen and I’ll comment after it. I think it’s fair for people to see what she wrote and then I’ll give my response.”
“The controversy is coming from people who aren’t too happy about the way I look on television,” Demetria Obilor said.
After both showing and reading the email at the same time, Reed gave her assessment.
“I would say to Kathy a couple of things,” she began. “Number one, you mischaracterized what I said.
“I didn’t say white people couldn’t talk about race, quite the contrary. We think race is an authentic discussion to have. We’re having it tonight because it’s [a discussion] many of you are having at home. And it has clearly entered the Atlanta mayoral race.
“That’s why behind the scenes, my colleagues and I, white and Black, we decided, ‘Hey, let’s go for it’ because we do try to keep it real here and we do a very good job of it.
“So I think when arguing with somebody, you have to be careful not to mischaracterize their viewpoint. I won’t mischaracterize your view either, Kathy Rae.”
Reed then let Rae know that she’s a professional TV journalist, but her “clap back” could have been fierce.
“I get it. On Dec. 5, 2017, you think it’s okay to call this journalist a n***er. I don’t. But I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead, I’ll let your words, Kathy Rae, speak for themselves. And, that will be the last word.”
Reed posted the entire clip on her Facebook page with the message, “Just another day at the office. Not the first time I’ve been called that word. Here’s an email I got from Kathyrae1962 tonight. And here’s my response. See ya at 11 on CBS46 with the latest results in the Atlanta mayor’s race!”
She later updated her cover photo with a picture of the printed email.