Friday, April 11, 2008

Village Voice Executive Editor Utters Racial Slur

I thought I would share something that has come to my attention. On April 4th, the Phoenix chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists held an awards banquet. One of those honored was Michael Lacey, the Executive Editor of the Village Voice. It should be noted that the Village Voice owns many "independent" alternative weekly newspapers including the Phoenix New Times. On the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Lacey paid tribute to the slain civil rights leader by referring to a deceased colleague Tom Fitzpatrick as "my n*#ger". Curiously, Fitzpatrick was white. From what I have read about Lacey this is his natural disposition. When Lacey was profiled in New York Magazine in 2005 after he assumed his new position at the Village Voice he referred to himself as "the new a*#hole in charge". (

Well, a*#hole or not, Lacey's barb was out of line. So where are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?For that matter where is the media? Well, the AP did run a headline on April 8th, "New Times editor apologizes for using racial slur'. ( But did Lacey actually apologize? While acknowledging his remark was "inappropriate" Lacey also said, "All present have my sincere apology. It is regrettable that any phrase of mine offended those attending a First Amendment awards banquet." Not exactly overwrought with contrition. Yet one can only wonder if Lacey would have been so vigorous in defending the First Amendment had an editor of a conservative publication uttered a racial epithet at an awards banquet? Not likely. If a conservative had uttered a racial epithet at an awards dinner he or she would be a household name in every newspaper, radio and TV newscast in the country. And if a conservative had uttered a racial epithet at an awards dinner I would be the first of many conservatives to call on that person to do the honorable thing and resign. Well, fair is fair. It is in this spirit that I call on Mike Lacey to step down from his position at the Village Voice. If Lacey won't resign, the Village Voice should sack him.

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