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. laurahdet

    Get him Sherrod, bring him to his knees!

    Logical Thinker, I love your Pro-Choice comment, it really made my day. : )

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logical Thinker

      Thanks. I was appropriate at the time.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JF


      July 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DrMantis

    She has no legal case whatsoever, but the race pimps can dream, can't they?

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waffles

      Of course she has a right to bring a lawsuit, but I'm wondering how it will work. The video clip showed her saying exactly what she said. Although it was taken out of context, it was not adulterated in any way. From a legal point of view, it interests me.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom L

      Are you a lawyer? Defamation of character ring a bell?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      how is it defimation of character. they were her own words, not altered or doctored. And the clip was prefaced with shirod standing up against racism, breitbart released the video to show the NAACP cheering her racist comments before she revealed the point of her story. There is no case against breitbart, only against shirley for admitting to preeference due to skin color.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      would this still be a story is she was white?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waffles

      I do understand the "defamation of character" aspect. It was thinking about it. I still find it interesting.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    It's about time! These people who keep defaming people with edited video need to get sued. I thought the whole thing was taken out of context, and there was no way that the blogger did not see the whole video and take out the substance of the speech. Three minutes out of a forty-five minute speech is definitely malicious and meant to defame.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrek

      Hey Marcus, nothing was edited!! Man, how ignorant can so many people be? He is under no legal obligation to show an entire video, he did nothing wrong. The President once again, made an assumption without all of the facts and pushed for her resignation, even though the NAACP had the ENTIRE video before hand. You have no problem with the gov't making an assumption and firing someone, yet you have a problem with a person showing a clip that was unedited?? You are a tool my friend.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus in Greensboro, NC

      Derrik! Edited means it is shortened, cut, or made in a different way than the original. The original was 45 minutes. HE posted 3 minutes. Therefore, it was edited.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee


      It was edited, you moron! Breitbart's vclaim is that he was sent 2 version of the video...and apparently, he mistakenly posted the edited version. While I'm sure this concept escapes you, we DO have a responsibility to post accurate information. OItherwise, I would be able to edit anything and everything, right down to the comments on CNN.com and manufacture any outcome I want. Try to look up the words "honesty" & "integrity", I'm sure you'll be surprised.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrek

      LOL, just because the entire video was not shown, does not mean it was edited. Everything on the video was her true and exact words. If you want to say they should have shown the entire video, fine, but to say it was edited implies they took her words and changed them, which they did not, get a clue, where is the outrage toward the NAACP and and the Presidents Administration, that had the entire video and failed to look into it, but instead made an ASSUMPTION and pushed her out the door? Oh thats right, no one can touch the racist, socialist ruining our country, continuously ignoring the American public. You guys are a sad group of reverse racists, fueling racism in america.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus in Greensboro, NC

      LOL! It was edited, no matter how you try to ignore that fact Derrek. Also, he defamed her. He was the reason she was fired. If he never posted the soundbyte, she would still have her job today. She could also sue the Department of Agriculture for wrongful termination. According to the law, she has legal rights in regards to the blogger and the government.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Being in the field of film, I can tell you it was edited. When you alter the original in any way it is an edit. That includes clips or taking part of a speech to give it a different context. Editing does not just mean changing voice or adding a UFO in the frame.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      Derrek, please have one of your parents type the word "edit" into a google page for you. Give them some time though, I now it takes a while to get off the couch thats sitting on the front porch of your mobile home.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    Now there's a shocker! She's already shown she's a litigeous person. I don't think she will prevail on this one. The NAACP was obviously the target. It was the reaction of the audience that showed racism.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      What reaction? I keep hearing about the audience cheering at certain parts of Sherrod's speech, but I've viewed the complete video multiple times and never hear it. You guys keep repeating this in the hope that people will think it's true, but it's simply not there.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TexVet

    Why is she suing????? She said what she said! It's on video tape. I'm not surprised though.....I knew she'd sue.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Chen

      Are you serious? He played an edited clip of her speech and construed it as racism when it was the exact opposite: she was relaying a story about how she overcame racism. The Right wing bloggers and news organizations played this for all that it was worth to the point of causing her to lose her job and suffer an embarrassment on a national scale for something that was simply NOT true. If anything, Sherrod is a champion of race relations and her message is one of peace and reconciliation while the Right desperately tried to make her into a racist individual undermining white-folk. It was a complete and utter LIE and a total injustice that she has not, to date, received a personal apology from those involved. It's clear that they have not learned their lesson; perhaps a legal battle and a hefty financial penalty will drill it into their heads.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • RN

      Thank you Charles Chen

      July 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • furtdaddy

      Uh hello the video was heavily edited purposely to make her look bad. The video totally altered the context of the oint she was trying to get across. Brittbart is done!

      July 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Yopu knew she'd sue? She should.You would too, but based on your bigoted bias, I can see how you'd make such a statement.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. brent

    it will get nowhere. not like he claimed she said or did something she didn't.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom L

      He defamed her character and cost her a job (though restored)...Is someone presented you as a racist and you got fired by using your own words (out of context) would you sue or would you let them run over you and their next victim?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. aprincess

    Why it was the administration who told her to resign and the department of agriculture. Fox News didn't even report the thing until after she had been fired by the Department of Agriculture. She should be suing the government. He is a blogger who posted a video, wow, he never called for her to be fired and wanted to show the double standard with the NAACP, sue them as well, as they also rushed to judgement before Fox.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      They did, in fact. They posted it on their website: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=1B47C63B-18FE-70B2-A88568269D9BA857. They've admitted it themselves.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GW


    July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logical Thinker

      Yes you are. 🙂 Peace.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris in DC

    Isn't her 15 minutes over yet?

    July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • aprincess

      No her 15 minutes are not over. I like how she is suing the blogger and not the actual individuals the administration who called for her resignation, or the Department of Agriculture who fired her, or even the NAACP or rushed to judge her negatively over a bloggers video. Sueing the wrong people I think. To me this is all political.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Justin

    We were given the freedom of speech by our country so that we could be heard, not so that we could abuse it to ruin the lives of others'. His actions are un-Christian, un-Republican and un-American. Take him out Shirley.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • kinzel

      It appears too often that the Republicants are getting fed what they want to hear and are all too willing to be led. The shame is that the breathless Fox "OMG!" to every story they feel diminishes the administration lends itself to exactly this kind of manipulation by the well-heeled and connected shadow activists. Yellow journalism isn't dead - it just takes new forms. Unfortunately the goal of this pox on the public appears more to be enrichment and self-aggrandizing rather than patriotism.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe

    Smart lawsuit. Don't sue your employer which cut you loose, sue a blogger. Wise decision.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logical Thinker

      The "employer" did the right thing based on the (mis)information they had. The blogger initiated the attack which ended up being dissected information causing the problem. The decision to sue him is valid. Shall I read you Dr. Suess' THE CAT IN THE HAT as well?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      I don't think winning the suit is the goal, otherwise she would sue her employer. And I think she would be successful in suing her employer. But suing her employer would create more bad press for the administration. Whereas, judging from the responses here, suing Brietbart will be a rallying call for Democrats going into the elections. Not to mention the elctions will probably occur long before the suit is decided, and and this is exposed for the sham it is.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wondering

      Jake, right on! All Political posturing by the Admin to get their sheep bleating louder.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeanne in Virginia

    You have come through this mess inflicted on you with such grace and class! DO take the blogger to task and if that is to be in a law suit, then so be it.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robo

    She will loose, Brietbart posted a video. That's all he did. Libs trying to take free speech away. (AGAIN)

    July 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logical Thinker

      If it was free speech, why did it need to be doctored to relay a false sense of reality? Oh, I'm sorry. You meant to say "Loose Brietbart posted a video. He did. Libs take free speech away. (AGAIN)". Right?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Perhaps that won't get anywhere. In the end, although it was not shown in its entirety, it appears it was not, in fact altered.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gatortarian

    At first I didn't think she was a racist but now that she has opened her mouth she has proven me wrong.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus in Greensboro, NC

      Now she's racist because she is suing the person who defamed her? Please according to the law she is due a civil remedy. It's the law.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      No, she is not a racist because she is suing...it's the things she's been saying after the incident and before the suing that is very troubling.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus in Greensboro, NC

      What are you talking about? Where she talked about her past, and how she had to get past that to be fair to everyone? How her father was killed by a white farmer, and he was never arrested or convicted of doing it? Or where she talked about how she was fired, before anyone knew the truth? She grew up in the South, and sorry but a lot of stuff happened here that people are going to take a while to get past? It's only been fifty years. Slavery, Jim Crow, and discrimination in America lasted longer than that. Just like when losing weight. It is going to take you just as long to lose it as it took for you to put it on. I'm still lost on what you're talking about Jackie.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
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