Goodloe Sutton, the longtime owner of The Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama, is relinquishing his role as publisher and editor after penning a controversial editorial encouraging the Ku Klux Klan to “ride again,” he said Friday.
Mr. Sutton, 80, said he turned editorial control of the small weekly paper over to Elecia R. Dexter, a black woman who began working at the publication earlier this year, The Associated Press reported.
“I think it can be helpful,” Ms. Dexter, 46, told the AP.
Mr. Sutton came under fire over the course of the week following the paper’s publication of a recent column he wrote about the KKK.
“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” the editorial started. “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama. They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas. This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated and the simple-minded people.”
“If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” Mr. Sutton later explained to the Montogomery Advertiser amid facing criticism for the column.
Asked by the Advertiser if he considered the Klan to be violent, Mr. Sutton responded: “A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people.”
“The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be,” he said Monday.
The Alabama Press Association subsequently voted to formally censure Mr. Sutton and suspend his newspaper’s membership.
Ms. Dexter said Friday that Mr. Sutton will retain ownership of The Democrat-Reporter but that she will “will handle everything else,” the AP reported.
The Democrat-Reporter was founded in 1911, and Mr. Sutton’s family has operated the paper since around six years later.