ACLU of Mississippi issues statement on Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s “public hanging” comment
“To celebrate the chance to sit in the front row of a public hanging demonstrates a profound ignorance of the state’s institutional legacy of racism."
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The ACLU has issued a statement regarding a comment Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith made at a campaign rally in Tupelo.
Hyde-Smith has drawn harsh criticism for the comment she made referencing that if the cattle rancher she was campaigning with “invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
Jeff Robinson, ACLU deputy legal director, and Jennifer Riley Collins, ACLU of Mississippi executive director, issued the following joint response:
“Sen. Hyde-Smith should be ashamed of herself. The fact that she chooses to use such repugnant language despite the ugly history in her state speaks to her lack of concern and knowledge about the experience of people who don’t look like her. Gov. Bryant’s defense of his appointee was also reprehensible as he attempted to cast a woman’s right to her own private health care as racial genocide.
“To celebrate the chance to sit in the front row of a public hanging demonstrates a profound ignorance of the state’s institutional legacy of racism. Sen. Hyde-Smith needs to be held accountable for her words. The people of Mississippi deserve better from their elected officials and appointed officials. It would serve Sen. Hyde-Smith well to brush up on her state’s history — from slavery, to slave patrols, lynchings, black codes, Jim Crow, and all the way to modern-day mass incarceration — to fully understand the breadth of her despicable comment.”
Hyde-Smith released her own statement on the comment Sunday:
“In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.”
The viral video of Cindy Hyde-Smith’s comment, which was filmed November 2, showed Hyde-Smith at a gathering with her supporters in Tupelo.
She can be heard in the video saying to a crowd, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row”.
The video has gone viral on social media. It has been viewed over 3.39 million times with thousands of retweets and shares on Facebook, drawing harsh criticism from people around the nation.
Governor Bryant came to Hyde-Smith’s defense during the press conference Monday.
Hyde-Smith is in a runoff with Mike Espy for the senate seat previously held by Thad Cochran. The runoff will be held on November 27.
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