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. Mike

    Let her sue. That lawsuit will not fly. She made the comments and has to live with the consequences. I guess it is okay for an african american woman to have racists tendencies, but, not for a white person. A COMPETENT judge would throw this suit out before it hit the docket!

    July 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |

    If she were white, she would be fired and it would be over.
    She seems to believe that because she is black, she can do whatever she wishes – and the liberal media agree with and perpetuate this kind of behavior. Disgraceful!

    July 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. badfrog

    I still want to see barrys birth certificate

    July 29, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. no tea for me

    I hope she wins! I get so sick of the whole bunch of tea party idiots and that nut job palin, and the way they try to blame every problem we have on the current administration, while it was actually the former REPUBLICAN administrations that paved the way for BIG OIL, BIG BANKS, and BIG INDUSTRY to come in and wreck our planet, while answering to no one! Blame yourselves, you tea party idiots! You are to blame if you supported or voted for reagan, or any of the bushes!

    July 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tim

    Sherrod can go ahead an SUE! She will not WIN anythging. There is no Libel. Because She indeed said what she did.
    No question.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tim

    By the way? Most of You people live in Lah Lah land, as does CNN.

    July 29, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gerry

    How about she sues Obama for forcing her to resign before getting all the facts? Do we really need an President who jumps to action without checking everything out?

    July 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • eyeswideshut

      well before you speak on a president getting there facts straight...why dont you start with your own. Obama didnt ask or force her out of her position...her boss and the head of the deparment did. They then informed the president of the situation. It was already in full swing by the time he was briefed and the only reason he was brought into the loop was because it was a huge newsworthy event....the president has too many things on his plate to worry about firing an employee not directly under him...that would be like the ceo of a corporation( with headquarters in washington) calling a administrative secretary and telling her she was fired!!!!

      August 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Merdiangel

    After viewing both the edited version and the full version, I was able to detect more than words missing. The roaring laughter and clapping which existed in the Edited version at a certain point of her speech, was not in the original full version at that same point of her speech. Yes, there were words and sentences missing from that short segment to change the meaning of that portion of her speech. But that laughter and clapping were added to that portion of her speech. Yet Anderson made it sound as if Sherrod was terrible, because Republicans are now assuming that Sherrod was hired not because of years of her abilities? On an Assumption, Copper Anderson puts a negative spin on Shirley Sherrod? What's next Anderson? A lynching?

    July 30, 2010 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Merdiangel

    Republicans are now assuming and making their assumptions very verbal about Shirley Sherrod had gotten her job because of a law suit. And Anderson on the night of July 29 2010 is ASSUMING that the Republicans ASSUMPTION is correctt? Shirley Sherrod had years, several decades of working with farmers and helping them. She was considered for the position before the lawsuit. How does that translate into the Republicans claim that Shirley Sherrod was hired for something other than her ability and years of knowledge of the job?

    July 30, 2010 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. daphnerp

    Mr. Breitbart edited a speech to dishonor an individual and to make a point for conservatives. Fortuneately this whole incident backfired for him. I am sorry that Ms. Sherrod had to go through this turmoil. Good for her to sue Breitbart.

    July 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Victorious Women

    Journalism is not always about getting the truth out there. I am a journalist, and I have always had a problem with journalistic ethics. The issue is sensationalism vs. newsworthy–ruining lives–so what.

    As for racism, it is alive and kicking. Many people want to deny it, but why deny what the wicked one drives? I face racism everyday, but I do not embrace it. I accept it as reality.

    Young blacks do not understand the history of African Americans. It is important that their parents teach them—not so they can walk around with a chip on their shoulder. Blacks in denial will learn the “feeling.” It is better to operate in light—with understanding. It is important to know what racism is. It is what it is. Jumping over hurdles with understanding makes it easier.

    Regarding legal ramifications, there is no shortage of attorneys.

    You must do what you have to do.

    Vivian Dixon Sober

    July 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim

    Why are you still reporting on this worthless old drone?

    July 30, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MadamDeb

    Dj Krankz: "Sue?? for what? releasing an incomplete video to put a negative slant on someone?"

    Exactly right. "Someone." She is not a politician or a vocal activist who put herself out there for your enjoyment. She did nothing to ask for this treatment. I hope she sues both Breitbart AND Fox, and she will most likely win. I will be on her side all the way.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MadamDeb

    Joe: "If you look at the original video, it included her claimed 'change of heart." The media has somehow managed to gloss over that fact and to pile on the blogger."

    What was the point, if it was so innocent?

    Maybe the headlines and commentary that preceded and followed it? And what was the "news" being commented on?

    Also, the "media" and the "blogger" are not different things. Breitbart calls himself a "journalist," but of course he has high hopes, poor kid.

    July 31, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Patricia A Lewis

    She should sui his pants off. People need to get their facts together before they set out to ruin someone's life. Since he is claiming it was about the people that were laughing can he prove that the people in the audience laughing are members of the NAACP. He was so busy trying to earn some points with the tea party, he didn't care who got hurt in the process. Who the hell does he think he is anyway. Why does he think its OK to treat Black people like crap for generations (including kill their father) but they shouldn't get mad. I know I originally said she should sui his pants off but I change my mind she should sui his ass off.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
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