Residents of a small town in Virginia were disheartened and angered when a local newspaper devoted a page to a KKK recruitment ad.
On the front page of the Westmoreland News, a KKK flyer was published in its entirety. Inhabitants of Colonial Beach, which is known as a peaceful beach town, voiced their outrage, reported WTVR.
Betty Tate Thompson, a Colonial Beach resident, says she and her neighbors first saw the flyers when they were being distributed in their community. However, when their paper decided to publish the flyer, they were in disbelief.
“They posted the whole flyer as if they were giving them free advertising,” Thompson told WTVR. “It even had the number on flyer to contact the head of the KKK. Which I thought was totally ridiculous!”
In addition to locals, Police Chief Danny Plott told reporters he was equally as dismayed by the ad.
According to Chief Plott, he first sent the flyer to the local paper as a way to inform them that the hateful group was spreading propaganda. He never expected to see the flyer on the front page of the paper.
“That kind of shocked me, and I wrote them a very strongly worded email,” Plott told WTVR.
After he sent the email, Plott received a phone call from the paper’s editor.
“She explained that she wanted to put it in to show people that those of us in Colonial Beach who may think there’s not racism; there is and I think she didn’t expect for this to blow up the way it did and with this outcome,” Plott told the local news station.
Neighbors who saw the paper have wasted no time in contacting the police and the paper.
“They are domestic terrorists... They terrorize communities. Their intent is to get their America back, but you have to think, how are they going to get their America back?” asked one resident.
The paper’s editor added this disclaimer on the page:
“Westmoreland News in no way condones or supports the content or message of this flyer, nor does it condone or support any branch of the Loyal White Knights, or the KKK.”
Despite the note from the editor, furious citizens believe not enough was done.
“At this point, the flyer doesn’t even matter. It’s on the front page of the newspaper for everybody to see,” another resident told WTVR.
Some neighbors said they will boycott the paper and encourage local companies to pull their advertisements.