The uproar over 84 WHAS radio personality Mandy Connell calling President Barack Obama “a young half-breed man” has subsided, but it seems those racially insensitive comments may not have been the first the conservative host has used. A Twitter account that appears to belong to Connell contains attacks on Obama and possible racist language, including talk of wearing a white sheet.
LEO Weekly discovered through an account bearing Connell’s name and other personal and professional references that there could be a history of flirting with derogatory racial comments, particularly when mentioning President Obama. Archives reveal the Twitter account, which was started in February 2009 and has been idle since May 28, 2010, is filled with messages that could raise more questions about the sincerity of Connell’s recent apology.
Last week, Connell, who was hired by WHAS in March, publicly apologized for the on-air remarks about the president during her mid-morning program. The station had received almost 75 complaints, some of which called for her firing.
“The only thing I can do is express my embarrassment that was the phrase that came to mind and apologize for the offensive way I was trying to convey my point about the president’s mixed heritage. It was inappropriate, and truthfully, I was shocked when that tumbled out of my mouth,” Connell told The ‘Ville Voice, a local blog. “My only excuse is that when talking for three hours without the opportunity to choose words in advance, sometimes my brain doesn’t do the good or right thing. I am human.”
The management at WHAS agreed that the comment was a gaffe, but rejected calls to terminate the conservative host, arguing everyone makes mistakes and that the incident won’t be repeated.
From The Courier-Journal:
(Connell’s) boss Kelly Carls, director of operations for Clean Channel Louisville, said that the apology was sincere and that the station will not discipline Connell.
“I know Mandy, I know her well. And I know that people have used the word ‘racist’ in connection with her, and frankly that’s ridiculous because she’s not,” Carls said. “ … The only action I’ve taken was a caution to be more careful in the terminology that she uses in the future.”
But it appears Connell might have a history of using such terminology, at least according to the Twitter account in her name.
Earlier this year, for instance, a Tweet posted on May 28, 2010 made this statement: “First black president + tar balls = career ending inappropriate jokes. I’m out.”
Previous Tweets from the account were sent while Connell still was working for WINK News in Fort Myers, Fla., and makes jokes with other questionable language, including allusions to the Ku Klux Klan and unclear references to “raccoon gangs” and failing schools.
“Racism accusations have jumped the shark,” reads a Sept. 17, 2009, Tweet. “Is it tacky to wear my white sheet after Labor Day?”
“Raccoon gangs. It’s probably because they went to failing schools and had no other alternatives,” an Oct. 6, 2009, Tweet reads.
When confronted with accusations that these sorts of comments are at the very least insensitive, a Tweet from Aug. 7, 2009, reads unapologetically: “I no longer care if someone calls me a racist. Too many have cried ‘racist wolf’ too many times. Screw ‘em.”
Connell was unavailable for comment, and messages left with her producer have not been returned.
When asked if Connell had a Twitter account, Kelly Carls told LEO Weekly that she doesn’t have one affiliated with the station, and the local Clear Channel executive isn’t sure if she has a personal one.
“I’ve never discussed it with her,” he says. “Until picking up the phone and talking to you, I never heard of any Twitter account.”
Carls said he would ask Connell about the social networking account tomorrow morning, but wouldn’t discuss hypothetical scenarios or whether he finds the account’s messages troubling
“Well first, I don’t know if they’re real. Second of all, I’d have to see them, and third, I’d have to look at the context,” he says. “I never even heard about this account before, so I’m not going to comment on something I don’t know anything about.”