Former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will pursue a lawsuit against conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.
Breitbart posted an edited video clip of Sherrod appearing to say she discriminated against a white farmer looking for assistance. The clip showed her addressing a chapter of the NAACP.
“I will definitely do it,” she said when asked whether she was considering legal action. Sherrod made her remarks during an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego, California.
Breitbart “had to know that he was targeting me,” Sherrod said. “At this point, he hasn’t apologized. I don’t want it at this point, and he’ll definitely hear from me.”
Breitbart did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He has said he released the Sherrod video because he believes it shows the NAACP itself tolerates racist behavior within its ranks — an accusation that came after the civil rights group made a similar charge against the conservative Tea Party movement.
“This was not about Shirley Sherrod,” Breitbart told CNN’s John King.
The controversy surrounding the clip led to a rush to judgment and Sherrod’s forced resignation. However, it was later determined that her speech, unedited, focused on how the incident changed her outlook and made her realize people should move beyond race. The incident occurred 24 years ago, before Sherrod began working for the USDA.
She received an official apology from the USDA and a phone call from President Barack Obama once the full text of her remarks came to light.
Sherrod has since been offered another position at the Agriculture Department.
Obama said earlier Thursday that Sherrod “deserves better than what happened last week.” Speaking at a National Urban League conference in Washington, Obama called the claim of racism against her “bogus.”
“Many are to blame” for the reaction that followed, he said, “including my own administration.”
Her whole story, Obama said he told Sherrod, “is exactly the kind of story we need to hear in America (because) we all have our biases.”
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