“Lynching” ad from Vernon Robinson group stirs controversy

PAC wont pull ad suggesting lynching if Democrats win
Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., congressman condemned a political ad made on his behalf that says white Democrats will be lynching black folk again. (Official photo)

An Arkansas congressman is condemning a political ad made on his behalf that says “white Democrats will be lynching black folk again.”

The radio ad in support of Republican Rep. French Hill’s re-election cites the contentious Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault allegations levied against him during the process.

“Our congressman, French Hill, and the Republicans know that it’s dangerous to change the presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt especially for black men,” one woman said.

“If the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration and all of her witnesses including her best friend say it didn’t happen, what will happen to our husbands, our fathers or our sons when a white girl lies on them?” another woman asked.

“Girl, white Democrats will be lynching black folk again,” the other woman said in the ad from the super PAC Black Americans for the President’s Agenda.

“Honey, I’ve always told my son, don’t be messing around with that. If you get caught, she will cry rape,” the woman added.

The women in the ad continued to say they will vote for Hill to “protect our men and boys.”

“We can’t afford to let white Democrats take us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape,” a woman said.

“I condemn this outrageous ad in the strongest terms. I do not support that message, and there is no place in Arkansas for this nonsense,” he said.

Hill also criticized his Democratic opponent, Clarke Tucker, for “spread[ing] this race-baiting ad” in a tweet.

On Twitter, Tucker fired back: “Rep. Hill [and] his allies will have to live with the kind of campaign they’re running. This radio ad is disgraceful [and] has no place in our society.”

Vernon Robinson, the PAC's co-founder and treasurer, told The Associated Press the ad has been running in Little Rock. He said the ad is part of a $50,000 buy that includes a similar spot running on stations in Missouri, where Republican Josh Hawley is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. The group had not coordinated the ad with Hill or spoken to his campaign about it, Robinson said.

The North Carolina-based PAC was formed earlier this year and this week reported having about $52,507 cash on hand and $62,769 in debt. The group has spent about $30,000 in recent weeks on ad buys in Arkansas and Missouri races, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Arkansas hasn't sent a Democrat to the U.S. House since 2010, but Tucker is mounting a surprisingly competitive bid to unseat the two-term Hill in Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district. Democrats are relying on a heavy turnout in Little Rock and its surrounding county, which is about 37 percent black and 6 percent Hispanic.

Share ANDREW DeMILLO Oct 19th 2018 2:49PM LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A political action committee said Friday that it wont pull a widely condemned radio ad that suggests white Democrats will lynch African-Americans if they win in midterm elections in Arkansas next month.

Vernon Robinson with Black Americans for the Presidents Agenda said Friday that the group wont cancel the radio ad running in the Little Rock area in support of Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill. He said the group also wont pull a similar ad he says is airing in Missouri. The ads in both states are scheduled to run through Friday, Robinson said.

“Theres no plan to change the current mix of ads. We have a plan, were executing the plan,” Robinson, the PACs co-founder and treasurer, told The Associated Press.

Hill and his Democratic challenger, Clarke Tucker, have condemned the Arkansas ad, which invokes the accusation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman when he was a teenager. The ad implies that Democrats support for Kavanaughs accuser means black men wouldnt be protected from unfounded rape claims.

“Im voting to keep Congressman French Hill and the Republicans, because we have to protect our men and boys,” the woman in the ad says. “We cant afford to let white Democrats take us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.”

Arkansas Republicans on Friday filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against the PAC over the ad. The complaint said the committee had not registered to campaign in Arkansas and that the ads were running illegally. Robinson said he planned to talk with the Ethics Commission staff to determine the next step.

Tucker and Democrats are relying in part on heavy turnout from African-Americans to flip the 2nd District seat, which covers Little Rock and seven central Arkansas counties. The ad isnt the first time racially charged issues have come into play in the race. Tucker last month denounced immigration attack mailers sent out by Republican Sen. Tom Cottons PAC as “racist.” Tucker earlier this month said a statue of his great-great-grandfather should be removed from the U.S. Capitol, condemning his ancestors statement that the South looked to the Democratic Party to preserve “white standards.”

Hill and Tucker are both white. The 2nd District is about 23 percent black, according to U.S. Census estimates. 

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