In an interview on Wednesday, actor Anthony Mackie accused theGrio of editing his controversial statements suggesting that black men with “dreadlocks” lead to racial profiling.
He claims that our Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon “lied” and misled him into believing that the portion of that interview was not on record. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Witherspoon has interviewed Mackie on multiple occasions and has known the actor for two years. Witherspoon and theGrio have no interest in harming Mackie’s reputation. When he sat down with Mackie, it was not under the pretense of friendship but as a reporter and subject.
TheGrio takes Mackie’s accusations very serious and stands by the original interview published. (Anthony Mackie on Selma’s Oscar snub: ‘People are just tired of being bombarded with race right now’)
Although Mackie received blowback from his statements on Selma, his “dreadlocks” comments have created a stir on social media. Here are his words unedited and as they ran in the original video story:
“Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch The First 48 with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”
“Let’s just say you have locks and you walking down the street. The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody. You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself.”
Here’s our original interview with Anthony Mackie:
Here’s Anthony claiming that we “lied” and misled him:
Here is Witherspoon’s unedited interview with Anthony Mackie:
Witherspoon’s journalistic integrity is beyond reproach. He has sat down with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Harry Belafonte and Denzel Washington. He would not have access to such caliber of talent if he had a reputation for being duplicitous.
We continue to be admirers of Anthony Mackie. However, we hope that he discontinues his attack on Chris Witherspoon’s character and offers an apology.
David A. Wilson is the co-founder and executive editor of theGrio. Follow him on Twitter @mrdavidawilson.