An Atlanta CBS46 evening anchor called out a viewer Tuesday during the live newscast who had called her the N-word in an email by repeating the epithet in full on air.
“On December 5, 2017, you think it’s okay to call this journalist a n*****,” Sharon Reed said during the Peachtree TV newscast. “I don’t. But I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead, I will let your words Kathy Rae speak for themselves. And that will be the last word.”
The original email from a woman identified as Kathy Rae, which Reed showed on air, said: “You need to be fired for the race baiting comment you made tonight. It’s okay for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites. really? you are what I call a N***** not a black person. you are a racist N****. you are what’s wrong with the world”
Reed said the woman who wrote this spelled out the N-word, though with one g instead of two.
She said the viewer mischaracterized what Reed had said. “I didn’t say that white people couldn’t talk about race. Quite the contrary. We think that race is an authentic discussion to have. It’s one we’re having tonight because it’s one you are talking about at home. It has clearly entered the Atlanta mayor’s race.”
“We do try to keep it real here,” she added.
News anchor Sharon Reed responds on air to a viewer who calls her the N-word. This Atlanta Mayoral race has people fiesty tonight. pic.twitter.com/Vgri3oXnGN— Billy Michael Honor (@BillyMHonor) December 6, 2017
In an interview today. Reed said the show gets social media comments all the time and she responded fairly off the cuff. What she said was not in a teleprompter. And she decided it was appropriate to use the N word at that moment.
“I’m not a fan of the use of the word but on the other hand, I get it. I don’t come down on artists and other people who have co-opted it for what they want to use it,” Reed said. “That said, if you’re going to write me using that word, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to censor it for viewers. It’s after 9 o’clock. We’re talking race. She used it multiple times. There are grown ups at home. They get it.”
She did email the viewer back and said thanked her for “making the show.” Her complaint was not about being called out. Rather, Reed said she didn’t like the fact Reed noted that she had misspelled the N word.
Reed acknowledged the woman’s note “ticked me off” but felt her response in the end “came out just right.”