July 16th, 2010
05:32 PM ET
4 years ago

Update: Tea Party leader removes controversial blog post

Mark Williams, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express has removed a controversial mock letter from his blog.
Mark Williams, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express has removed a controversial mock letter from his blog.

(CNN) – In a "personal note" posted on his blog Friday afternoon, a well-known face of the national Tea Party movement announced that he has removed a controversial post which mocked the NAACP's criticism of the conservative grassroots movement.

Earlier this week and apparently in reaction to an NAACP resolution regarding racist behavior exhibited by some attendees at Tea Party movement events, Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams published a satirical, mock letter from NAACP president Benjamin Jealous to the late President Abraham Lincoln.

"Dear Mr. Lincoln," an earlier version of the blog post read, "We [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People and we demand that it stop!"

In the "personal note" on his blog posted Friday afternoon, Williams explained his decision to remove the controversial mock letter.

"I learned this morning that Ben Jealous, author of the NAACP anti-tea party resolution has offered something of an olive branch and wants to open discussions with tea partiers regarding dialing down the unproductive shots going back and forth," wrote Mark Williams, a spokesman for the Tea Party Express.

Williams also said that he has responded to the outreach from Jealous by providing his contact info. "I do hope that he follows through and calls. The first round of beers at our 'summit' will be on me," said Williams.

The Tea Party activist added, "Following what I believe to be a sincere move by Mr. Jealous I recognize that I have a responsibility to act in kind (just as I did in response to the NAACP's anti-tea party resolution and what was said about us) and that the continued controversy over this post can only detract from the discussions."

Williams explained that he decided to remove the controversial blog post as "a reciprocal gesture." And Williams suggested that he had been mistaken in publishing the mock letter in the first place.

"Now that Mr. Jealous and others realize their error and seek to mend fences it becomes my job to not offend rational people who disagree with me on the relevant issues while not sacrificing the truth. I heard too from many very sober and thoughtful people who counseled me that my comments were an obstacle to progress and that I missed my intended target."

And, echoing his past comments and those of other national figures in the Tea Party movement, Williams directly addressed claims that the conservative grassroots movement tolerates racist behavior within its ranks.

"So, with that I reiterate what I and every tea partier have said repeatedly: We denounce racists of any color and all those who seek to divide the American People along any lines."
And the outspoken Williams ended his new blog post with both a defiant note and invitation to Jealous.

"I would suggest to those offended by the term "Colored People" (the phrase that made my article so controversial) please contact the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and join me in calling for an end to their use of the racial slur and that Mr. Jealous take me up on my offer to travel with me on the next Tea Party Express so that he may meet all of you in person."

CNN has reached out to the NAACP for comment on Williams' latest blog post.

Update 7:43 p.m.: NAACP president Benjamin Jealous has responded to Williams. "I have not reached out to Mark Williams nor have we made any statements against the Tea Party," Jealous told CNN's Roland Martin. "We have simply called on the leaders to repudiate racist elements in their ranks."

Jealous added, "If Mark Williams apologizes for his past troubling statements, including the offensive letter he recently authored, and is willing to repudiate racist elements in the Tea Party, I would be happy to sit down and talk to him."

soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Barbara

    Yah right.... The way he tells it the NAACP came to him with tails between legs... – turns out – not so fast.. He took down the vile blog because he got so much flack for ex;posing that "racist element in the Tea Party" that was the subject of the whole exercise by the NAACP in the first place

    July 16, 2010 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Typical. The rethugs and teabaggers say one thing then when they are called on it because of the stupidity that comes out of their mouths or websites or rallies then they want to take it back.
    Guess what? You can't. We already know what you and the teabaggers represent. We have known for months.
    faux news spawned you and your leaders (bachman, the AK quitter, limberg, insanity, and little girl beck) won't allow you to go back under the rock you all crawled from under. The hate agenda is the only thing your group has going for it.

    July 16, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. MONUMENTAL TRUTH!

    Are you scared of a mob of radical, racist, NCAAP crap. Keep you AD up. If they don't like it, kiss off. No one here in Texas gives a darn. Bring it on if you want a hand full. This is not Los Angeles and you will never run amok again like a bulk of escaped Zoo monkeys.

    July 16, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Gregg

    Can someone, anyone,, explain to me where this tea party was when Bush was in office? seems to me more of what is going on now was happening even more then, yet this tea party was ghost in the clset, hmmmm, i smell a rat....

    July 16, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. beancounter

    Please...the "racist" NAACP has the nerve to call another political group "racist." Pot..meet Kettle...Kettle meet Pot.

    July 16, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  6. Suzanne Martin

    My opinion of CNN just went down dramatically, I am appalled that CNN would give credibility to this ignorant slob as a political commentator.

    July 16, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  7. mbz

    Hi if u ask me fuck this black or kkk they dont like us we dont like them that is how it was and taht is how it going to be

    July 16, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. dewmik

    Vote against Obama = Racism
    Be a member of the Tea party = Racism
    Disagree with Obama = Racism

    I'm not sure but there seams to be a pattern here

    July 16, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. Kessler

    Mark Williams – the posterchild of racism.

    Sir, we all really do hate you! You are the one who is Unamerican.

    July 16, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams' story was removed from the site, but not before he went on to say (not really, but it could have):
    Yassuh, we, [the national association of] colored people is shifless lazy folk who don't need no responsabilites. We doesn't want to lurn nuttin and we don't wants to have no control over our own lives.
    We doesn't want to be slaves or nuttin, but we would take your welfare, cause it's all we needs to make mo babies."

    Yeah, Mr Williams, no one could find your "humor" as racist or anything.

    July 16, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  11. American

    You can't make this stuff up. What a sad face clown.

    July 16, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. AJM

    Right. Their not biggoted at all. They just want to have dialogue. If any person of color ever thought about (or has) joining the Tea Party you are a joke. They are nothing more than a bunch of right wing (white) wing nuts who want you in your place. This add/letter says it all.

    July 16, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. jeff - Sarasota Florida

    The thing that amazes me about the Tea Party is the fact so many people seem to ignore they changed from a non profit to a for profit and the only people they pass their message too are the ones that pay for it... yet they say they are for less governement and spending and they are for middle America, yet middle America can't afford the time off work or the price to go hear them speak and no press inside so the message only goes to the ones who pay for it...

    Sounds like politics as usual to me, they take the profits and let the ones that pay them know what they are doing...

    July 16, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  14. Kate

    Forget the racism issue. If tea party people are that stupid, I don't want to see any in positions of authority. Does this guy not see that the entire concept of his letter is blatantly racist, not just a word or two?

    July 16, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. malabar

    old rules out the window. dems luv acting offended but dont care if black conservative gets beat by SEIU members, sandra bernhard warns Sarah Palin she'll get raped by black brothers, black panther calls 4 murder of cops n white babies, etc. . . its laughable how stupid people thnk dems actually care. they want power not equality. repubs arent perfect but people shud educate themselves and study parties and candidates, not just spew old lazy deceitful dem talkng points. i'm a gay latino btw who has experienced racism frm whites AND blacks. shud i categorize every single black person as racist now? grow up dems and stop hoping and praying racism is running rampant everywhere 24/7 just to scare up sum votes.

    July 16, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  16. CAW in MD

    So much for Tea Bagger leaders showing actual leadership. But this idiocy was very nicely timed, if nothing else.

    July 16, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  17. Tom from NYC

    Do the tea-partiers wear brown shirts and hob-nail boots???? Do they raise their right hands at a 45 degree angle when they greet each other??? Does their leader wear a small mustache??? Is it 2010 or 1933????? I'll bet most people know the answers to the above.

    July 16, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  18. Dave, Illinois

    So, a letter that mocks the NAACP's welfare-state, permament-victim, race-baiting policies in controversal – yet the racist, anti-white, rants that are shown on Youtube at NAACP rallies are not. This double standard is part of the problem that is driving us to different corners of the ring. Of course, that's in the Dem's and NAACP's best interest. Wake up you idiots.

    July 16, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  19. Donkey Party

    "Now that Mr. Jealous and others realize their error"??? The NAACP simply asked the Teabaggers to repudiate the racism that everybody other than racists can plainly see. Then Williams goes uber-racist, and now spins the story that the NAACP is ashamed for "their errors"? Are you effing serious? And that batshit-crazy woman Bachmann wants to add them as a Congressional caucus??? Wow, just wow!

    July 17, 2010 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  20. philme1

    How does the song go...I see your true colors shunning through...yea, somethibg like that.

    July 17, 2010 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
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