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A spirit that is not afraid

Editor-publisher who wrote Klan editorial steps down from paper

"I can drink beer and chase women now. They can't run too fast, or I can't catch them," Sutton told The Plainsman.

Goodloe Sutton is the editor-publisher of The Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama.
Goodloe Sutton is the editor-publisher of The Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama.

Goodloe Sutton, editor and publisher of The Democrat-Reporter, stepped down from his paper on Thursday after widespread backlash to a racist editorial he published on Feb. 14.

"I do not own it," he told The Auburn Plainsman during a phone call on Friday afternoon. He echoed similar sexist comments he relayed to other news outlets, telling The Plainsman, "I can drink beer and chase women now. They can't run too fast, or I can't catch them."

The Plainsman first reported the racist editorial on Twitter. The headline read, "Klan needs to ride again."

He said he is handing leadership of the paper over to Elecia Dexter, an African-American woman who has worked at the publication.

In an interview with NBC News, Dexter somewhat contradicted Sutton, confirming that Sutton will continue to own the publication, but she "will handle everything else."

When called to ask for a statement on the future of the paper under Dexter, Sutton said he gave her the paper because he believes she will get things done.

Then he launched into a sexist diatribe.

"You know how managing you females are," Sutton told The Plainsman's managing editor, ending the call by telling her to "be sweet" and "behave." 

Sutton told the Montgomery Advertiser that the KKK could "clean out D.C." by way of lynching. He has also said that he isn't sure if he regrets the editorial, telling the Alabama Political Reporter it "was a good one." 

"Some of the yankees didn't like that, and none of the Democrats liked it," Sutton told The Plainsman about his lynching statements that the Advertiser first reported. "About 2,000 other folks loved it."

“We had a discussion yesterday and felt this was necessary to move forward. We’re hoping to move the paper in a different direction," Dexter told

He continued to say that irony was the point of his racist editorial.

"Irony is having the FBI investigated by their arch enemy, the KKK," he said, doubling down on his views.

However, he continued to persist this week by publishing letters to the editor Thursday supporting his decision to publish the editorial. And he said he means executions, not lynchings. 

This comes after he told the Advertiser, "We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them" — an obvious reference to lynching.

The announcement comes after Sutton printed his final paper as publisher on Feb. 21 in which he included the letters to the editor, one of which was from a self-proclaimed Klansman

The Plainsman first reported the Auburn Journalism Advisory Council's vote to revoke Sutton's Distinguished Community Journalism award, given to him and his wife, Jean Sutton, in 2009. The award given to Jean Sutton was not revoked.

Sutton's alma mater, University of Southern Mississippi, also striped him of his place in the Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame.

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The paper has a history of publishing racist, homophobic and sexist editorials in the small, West Alabama town.  

The Alabama Press Association announced on Twitter Tuesday that it censured Sutton and suspended the publication's membership. Members may vote at the next meeting to expel the paper.

Mikayla Burns | Managing Editor

Mikayla Burns, senior in journalism and Spanish, is managing editor of The Auburn Plainsman.

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