With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, it takes a lunatic to hear the two everyday English words that Vester Lee Flanagan II heard and processed as “pure racism.” The two words, the New York Post reports, are swinging and field.
Alison Parker, the 24-year-old white reporter who Flanagan shot to death on live TV along with cameraman Adam Ward, used the “offensive” words during an internship at WDBJ TV in Roanoke in 2012. This according to an internal complaint filed by Flanagan, who was black.
“One was something about ‘swinging’ by some place; the other was out in the ‘field,’ ” said the Jan. 21 report by assistant news director Greg Baldwin, which refers to Parker as Alison Bailey (her middle name).
Parker was never disciplined over the remarks, but Flanagan never forgot them.
Hours after gunning her and Adam Ward down during their broadcast Wednesday, Flanagan revealed in tweets that the comments were still fresh in his mind.
“Alison made racist comments,” Flanagan posted while he was on the run from cops.
“They hired her after that??” he wrote.
Flanagan, who was fired in February 2013, made the two words the basis of an unsuccessful discrimination lawsuit against the television station that he filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Trevor Fair, a 33-year-old cameraman at WDBJ for six years, said that the words Parker used are commonplace but that they would routinely set Flanagan off.
“We would say stuff like, ‘The reporter’s out in the field.’ And he would look at us and say, ‘What are you saying, cotton fields? That’s racist,’ ” Fair recounted.
“We’d be like, ‘What?’ We all know what that means, but he took it as cotton fields, and therefore we’re all racists.”
“This guy was a nightmare,” Fair said. “Management’s worst nightmare.”
Flanagan assumed everything was a jab at his race, even when a manager brought in watermelon for all employees.
“Of course, he thought that was racist. He was like, ‘You’re doing that because of me.’ No, the general manager brought in watermelon for the entire news team. He’s like, ‘Nope, this is out for me. You guys are calling me out because I’m black.’ ”
When Flanagan wasn’t taking offense at imaginary racial slurs, he busied himself with gay porn and sex toys. Roanoke police found both, along with saved cat feces, which he flung at the front doors of neighbors’ apartments during disputes.