November 3rd, 2013
10:35 PM ET
9 months ago

Koch brothers fire back at Belafonte after Ku Klux Klan comments

Washington (CNN) - In a rare move, a spokesman for the Koch brothers made a statement defending the Republican super donors after Harry Belafonte likened the billionaire chemical tycoons to the Ku Klux Klan.

"Mr. Belafonte's comments are false and reprehensible," said Rob Tappan, a spokesman for the brothers. "His comments are divisive and destructive and are indicative of the type of hateful rhetoric that leads to the breakdown of a civil and respectful society."


Tappan added that the brothers "have devoted their lives to advancing tolerance and a free society, where every individual is judged on his or her individual merits and they are free to make decisions about their lives.”

While the Kochs are common targets at Democratic events across the country, their aides do not normally respond publicly to criticism.

The public rebuttal from the Koch camp came after Belafonte lambasted the pair at a New York City church service on Sunday. According to Capital New York, an online magazine, the 86-year-old entertainer pushed his rhetoric beyond the political and called the Koch brothers "the most corrupt group of citizens I've ever known" and "men of evil."

"The make up the heart and the thinking in the minds of those who would belong to the Ku Klux Klan," Belafonte said at the First Corinthian Baptist Church. "They are white supremicists."

Belafonte continued the diatribe, remarking that the pair "is already sewn into the fabric of our daily system, and they must be stopped." He largely took issue with the Kochs’ investment in New York Presbyterian Hospital, accusing the industrialists of trying to "take over the medical care system."

After it was ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, the hospital accepted a $100 million donation from David Koch.

The pushback from the Koch brothers' representatives marks the second time in recent weeks the reticent billionaires have stepped into public view to weigh in on recent events. After conservatives helped lead the charge to shut down the government, Koch Industries issued a statement denying allegations that the brothers advocated defunding President Barack Obama's signature health care law at all costs.

"Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare - nor have we lobbied on legislative provisions defunding Obamacare," spokesman Philip Ellender said in a letter dated October 9.

CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.


Filed under: David and Charles Koch
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. rs

    I dunno, the Kochs are funding the racist TEA Party who seems to be very enamored of display and march around with rebel flags...plus, the GOP's TEA Party contingent tried to crash the American economy just last month, thus it isn't beyond the pail to see support for the KKK- and much, much worse!

    November 3, 2013 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  2. VET-2

    If the truth hurts, WEAR it

    November 3, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  3. Wishful thinking

    Mr. Belafonte could not be more wrong, The KKK is a defunct and silly organization with no political power and no money. Where as the Koch Brothers are involved with all aspects of politics, have an affect our daily lives and are worth over 35 billion each. They have benefited more from the Buckley v. Valeo ruling more than any other American.

    November 3, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  4. HenryMiller

    Typical Leftist—if you can't think of anything substantive to say, call someone a racist.

    November 3, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  5. jrsgta

    awww poor babies...I didn't see Pres.Obama cry like this when they said and say hes a Nazi.

    November 3, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. Vence

    They are too smart to be in the KKK, but the ACA is not good for them.

    November 3, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Tomo

    We should just call them the Ku Kochs Klan. Money that buys supremacy in a rich white way.

    November 4, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  8. Thomas

    "His comments are divisive and destructive and are indicative of the type of hateful rhetoric that leads to the breakdown of a civil and respectful society."

    Sounds like Mr. Belafonte's comments hit a exposed raw nerve on the Brothers Koch .

    This is what happens when such powerful corporations such as the Koch's go to any financial ends to support bottom of the barrel politicians to do there bidding , it becomes an uncivil and disrespectful society.

    Jm DeMint
    Ted Cruz
    Scott Walker
    Joe Wilson " You Lie !

    November 4, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  9. Wes

    Harry Belafonte is a racist. And a lousy singer.

    November 4, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  10. California

    Funny how Belafonte is actually part of the party that founded the KKK.

    Mr. Belafonte your race card has EXPIRED.

    November 4, 2013 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  11. Larry

    The truth stings like a mutha

    November 4, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  12. glennrobert

    I believe the Koch brothers spent three hundred million dollars to defeat Obama in his last election. Well spent! They present themselves as moderates doing good.

    November 4, 2013 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  13. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The gospel truth is the only thing that scares the Koch Brothers out of hiding. Belafonte hit the nail on the head. Great to see them SPRINTING away from their own fake, astroturf tea potty in that Oct letter again.

    November 4, 2013 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  14. Maripil

    The Koch brothers are economic and political terrorists! They are ruthless in opposing their political enemies! The government shutdown was perpetrated through their money machine!!

    November 4, 2013 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  15. cumulus

    Oh, I believe, do you believe Timmy? Real nice guys, they would never pass judgement, their kind souls. Harry was absolutely correct, evil men who have complete control if the Republican party, they are looking to cash in big on the keystone, why else would you want a pipeline going through our largest watershed? They claom its safe, you know its not, they lie badly, no jobs, no oil, slk ybd risk

    November 4, 2013 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  16. Marie MD

    Ouch! The truth hurts.
    These koch(s) are trying to suppress the vote, they give money to candidates who would rather shutdown the government to the tune of $24BILLION than negotiate, they gave millions of money to a candidate who didn't care about the 47+% of US citizens, they are in cohoots with any and all heritage _________, they are against women's, seniors, poor, children, veterans rights.
    They hide behind the curtain passing out money to racists, crazies and canadian terrorists.
    I have not always agreed with Belafonte on his political views but he is right on this one. All the koch(s) need are the robes!

    November 4, 2013 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  17. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Koch, if the shoe fits,wear it!!!!

    November 4, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    GOP is so bad, vulgar. No one in the right mind will vote for this wretched group of republicans. GOP is gone to dogs.

    November 4, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  19. ghost

    The KKK is out from behind the sheets. That is a good thing. Now we know who they are. COCH – or Coke

    November 4, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  20. RomneyWho

    Behind the scene conspiracy . . . Cloaked in a gift, presented like the Trojan horse! :(

    November 4, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  21. Alan S.

    The record speaks for itself. The got caught red handed stealing oil from the Native Americans, they were charged with multiple felonies for the illegal discharge of highly toxic chemicals, and they were caught illegally selling equipment to Iran. In every case they paid out large sums of money to members of Congress and President Bush to avoid prosecution. The Koch Bros. feel that they are above the law but they need to be brought to justice for their many criminal acts to many to list now and face their day in court and be judged by their peers and if found guilty then do their time in prison like what happens to every other American that breaks the law.

    November 4, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  22. A True Conservative

    So, which of the loving liberals will call Mr. Bellefonte out for his hate speech? My guss? None! Racism and hate from the left is excusable....by the left......

    November 4, 2013 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  23. Durundal

    So theyre not 'evil' then.....they just fund those who are. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck..

    November 4, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    The Tea baggers are a direct result of the Kochs trying to destroy government, a mission they have been on for years. The candidates they support have a goal, to bring government to a halt. In addition, look to Cruz, Lee, Radel, Rubio, Governor Scott, Governor Walker, Cuccinelli, and most of the red state officials, etc., and notice they do have a certain commonality. All seem to wage a war against the poor, seniors, workers, but mostly minorities.

    November 4, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    The black racism in America is the dominant racism in America, today!!!

    November 4, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
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