The president of the Maricopa County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is under fire after making a sexist remark to a Latina TV reporter.
According to the Phoenix News Times, Don Harris is in trouble for telling Monique Griego of Channel 12 News (KPNX-TV) that she had “nice t**s” while she interviewed him following a Tuesday meeting with local community leaders regarding the viral photo of six local high school girls spelling the n-word with letters on their T-shirts.
Harris had been telling reporters that the local NAACP chapter was donating $5,000 toward the effort to eradicate the racial epithet.
In a soundbite obtained by the Phoenix News Times, Harris, 77, is then heard interrupting a question about the n-word controversy to reference Griego’s chest. He reportedly repeated the phrase before answering any more questions about the meeting.
When he was questioned about his comment on Wednesday, Harris reportedly got upset for the focus being put on his words and not the controversy. He said was “really f***ing sorry” and that he had quit his law practice after taking over for Rev. Oscar Tillman in 2015 at the NAACP.
According to a statement released by KPNX-TV, Griego did not want to comment on the incident.
“As a news organization, my editorial team will treat this story as we would any other story: with a fair, unbiased approach as a part of our normal news gathering. 12 News supports Monique Griego and all of our reporters and photojournalists who cover the people and issues of Arizona for you every day,” the statement read, as posted by ABC15.
According to a report by ABC15, Harris submitted a letter of resignation saying that he had “screwed up” and called his comment “inexcusable.”
“Am I sorry? You bet I’m sorry,” he told the TV station.
However, it seems like he changed his mind late Wednesday night when he told the Arizona Republic that he would leave the question of his resignation in the hands of the NAACP chapter’s executive board.
"I said if they want me gone, I'm gone," he told the Republic. "I'm not ducking from anything. I did something stupid and wrong, and I'm sorry for it. I can't beat myself forever about it. I said it. And I can't be any more sincere."
Ann Hart, first vice president for the Maricopa County NAACP, told the Phoenix News Times that there is “extreme concern” over Harris’ statements and that a board meeting is scheduled for Thursday to discuss the incident.
However, she said, Harris should not be forced to resign because he has done a lot of good for the organization. She praised his work with the local African-American community, adding that it’s possible his “humorous nature” went too far.