July 29th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Sherrod to sue blogger who released video clip

Former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will pursue a lawsuit against conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart - the man responsible for posting an edited video clip of Sherrod appearing to say she discriminated against a white farmer looking for assistance.

"I will definitely do it," she said when asked whether she was considering legal action. Sherrod made her remarks during an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego.

Breitbart "had to know that he was targeting me," Sherrod said. "At this point, he hasn't apologized. I don't want it at this point, and he'll definitely hear from me."

The controversy surrounding the clip led to a rush to judgment and Sherrod's forced resignation. However, it was later determined that her speech, unedited, focused on how the incident changed her outlook and made her realize people should move beyond race. The incident occurred 24 years ago, before Sherrod began working for the USDA.

She received an official apology from the USDA and a phone call from President Barack Obama once the full text of her remarks came to light.

Sherrod has since been offered another position at the Agriculture Department.

Obama said earlier Thursday that Sherrod "deserves better than what happened last week." Speaking at a National Urban League conference in Washington, Obama called the claim of racism against her "bogus."

"Many are to blame" for the reaction that followed, he said, "including my own administration."

Her whole story, Obama said he told Sherrod, "is exactly the kind of story we need to hear in America (because) we all have our biases."

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Filed under: Civil Rights
soundoff (420 Responses)
  1. Rodney

    you people are quite funny...i read your comments like the comics... bloggers, FOX news, the whole lot... its a bag of laughs. like the saying goes... opinions are like buttholes...

    July 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lance corporal

    breitbart committed an intentional act knowing full well it would cause harm, it is an obvious fraud, not just the video but how it was presented was done with malicious intent and it was an willful fraud in that he used tools to manipulate something to create the desired effect in opposition to the truth, he should be sued, both for real damages and for punitive effect to encourage others to not follow his deceitful approach, any one who is defending him or indeed fox news for the way they pushed it (you can say it was the commentators and not news side but it is splitting hairs that every one knows are meaningless) you are simply defending the indefenseable and that makes a HUGE statement about you oh yeah and the USDA and anyone in the Obama administration who jumped the gun on this was wrong and they where right to apologize and attempt to make it up to her, they should not fear the radicals on the right, they should trust the moderate majority in this country to see thru the beck/rush/oreilly BS this is what it means to be a moderate, to be reasonable – the ability to criticize, those of you who defend the right/fox no matter what just show that you are wearing blinders. what happened here was wrong and people stopped giving to acorn and they closed down when they where shown to be even in part out of control.... why doesn't the right shut down rush etc??????

    July 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Xuxun

    Hope she is considering suing all the TV Channels that broadcasted the damaging footage without fully researching the story, and without any thought to the consequences of the impact it will do to a person. That is malicious and irresponsible behavior which demands accountability!

    July 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. LaffingMyAddOff

    P53..........He thinks he's an internet warrior
    I think he's a racist coward.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. You're kidding me

    She is going to sue because someone had the nerve to post a video of her speaking. How dare someone use her own words to make her look like a fool!

    July 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MWS

    I'm glad that bloggers have free speech to air their opinions, regardless of what opinion they hold. If Breitbart wants to blog his opinion, then let him – as long as he calls it his opinion. If Breitbart viewed the full video, edited the material, and published a falsehood as as a FACT, this is a base act, and Sherrod should have a legal remedy to punish him for any damages he caused her. This should also serve as a deterence to others who would publish false accusations as fact. Before publishing something as FACT, you should be REQUIRED to actually WORK and CHECK YOUR SOURCES and go through DUE DILIGENCE.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LaffingMyAddOff

    CNN drops this story, opens up the comment section
    and immediatly (with a very few acceptions)
    Everbody runs left or right.
    Some of the comments are funny
    most of them are rude or ignorant.

    HOW SAD.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin Smith

    First of all this was not a closed door secret meeting. This was public. There isn't a thing she can do about someone airing all or part of a public speech. It was not doctored, or edited, it was excerpted, an entirely different thing. She said the words, that's all there is to it. And the poster that said she should stop now is right. At this point it will all just look like she's trying to go too far It was a public speech. He can post whatever part of it he wishes. If she didn't want it public? She shouldn't have said it. She's lucky she is halfway being exonerated. I don't know when people will learn to think very carefully before they say ANYTHING is a public forum because at any time after that any part of it can come back to haunt you. And that's a fact Jack.

    July 29, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Conservative Republican

    Conservatives and Liberals may disagree vehemently on policies, but this is plain inexcusable. This is the biggest problem with the political system today. Completely deceitful and misrepresenting. You want to argue facts and policy, fine. She deserves to take this jerk to the cleaners. I hope my fellow party members realize what a joke people like Breibart and Limbaugh are. Get off your stupid "my job is to hate the other party" horse and maybe we can get something productive done.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. keninmiami

    Two points:
    a) She should be suing her former employer for unlawful termination but that would include the president so that won't happen.
    b) Fox didn't air the video until after her termination, it was everywhere else prior too termination but not there.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cdubs1169

    For those of you who say that she cannot sue because of the First Amendment or because he did actually say those words, you are not correct. If she can prove that Breitbart intentionally edited, or showed a clip in a way that is misleading in order to do harm to Sherrod's reputation he can be sued. Especially if he were to run the clip and infer that this happened when she was a federal employee, which was not the case.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dan

    so because someone posted a video, not a fake but a real video, they need to get sued? sure it was taken out of context but still. come on people.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin Smith

    And as far as her being fired? She resigned. She wan't fired. She didn't have to quit.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin Smith

    And now both the blogger and the woman will be famous and infamous, until the next foolish duo or single come up in the news. Meanwhile? Children are being cooked in Africa. Priests are raping nuns all over the world. Children are being molested in every country. People are working for less than it costs for a pack of cigarettes for an entire month so you can wear Gap clothing and Adidas shoes. Families are starving to death by the thousands every day. War is being used as an excuse by megalomaniacs to torture and murder. Innocent people are being murdered by the hour. And what is most important? This? We get outraged about this, but we let the world go on suffering in real ways that are unspeakable and unacceptable. Enjoy your dinner. I know millions that would love to have your scraps.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GHIGGS

    I hope she sues him into a backwoods outhouse! I want even his toilet paper taken away from him! What he did was totally reprehensible and injurious, not only to Ms. Sherrod but to the entire country as a whole! It was unforgivable that he did not take responsibility for what he did! He's a bigoted racist and Fox News is as racist as he is by supporting him! He should have been fired immediately! I'm not from the Civil Rights Generation that turned the other Cheek as they were spat upon and beaten. I will punch and beat Briebart into the concrete if I see him personally!

    July 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
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