A school board member in Greeley, Colo., has started bringing his gun to school board meetings after, he says, he received threats over his regular radio broadcasts attacking the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Brett Reese, who owns and manages a local radio station, plays the same commentary twice a day, every day. The commentary, which he reads, calls King a “sexual degenerate,” an “America-hating communist” and a “plastic god.”
He describes it as a letter he received from a listener three years ago. It can also be found on a web site, martinlutherking.org, which is run by the white supremacist group Stormfront.
Reese says he’s been getting death threats since the local paper, the Greeley Tribune, reported on his broadcasts last Friday. He will from now on, he said, bring a gun with him to board meetings.
“I have to,” he said, citing the recent school board shooting in Florida.
Since then, he told the paper, he’s begun omitting the parts calling King a “sexual degenerate.” He’s also stopped directing listeners to the Stormfront site to “fact check” his claims. He claims he didn’t know it was run by a white supremacist group, and said he does not support white supremacist ideas in any way.
“I hadn’t investigated the group,” Reese said. “I didn’t realize it was linked to a white supremacist site.”
He has declined to stop the broadcasts, which will run every day until Martin Luther King Day. He said he wishes the day were renamed after the civil rights movement itself.
“I don’t think I did the wrong thing in talking about the man because I do have so much respect for the movement,” Reese said.
You can listen to his commentary below, via the Greeley Tribune:
For what it’s worth, the Tribune spoke to Clayborne Carson, the founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University and the editor of his papers, who said that many of the factual claims in the commentary — that King had extramarital sexual relationships and plagiarized an academic paper — are substantiated.
As a historian, all that is irrelevant,” Carson said. “King is considered a great person not because he was born a great person but because he was part of a great movement that achieved a major change. To say he was not perfect or had flaws doesn’t matter.”