Roger Stone, a longtime friend of President Trump, denies he called Los Angeles radio host Morris O’Kelley “Negro” during a tense weekend interview on Stone’s conviction and subsequent presidential commutation.
The interview took place Saturday on the “Mo’Kelly Show.” O’Kelley pressed Stone about the conviction stemming from the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election.
Stones was convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress, and sentenced to 40 months in prison but received a commutation before his incarceration could begin.
When O’Kelley implied Stone’s friendship with Trump was behind the commutation, Stone allegedly said he couldn’t believe he was arguing “with this Negro” slightly off mic. O’Kelley asked Stone to repeat his comment, but Stone refused, saying O’Kelley misheard him and was “out of his mind.”
“Stone could have reached for any pejorative, but unfortunately went there,” O’Kelley said Sunday in a response to the interview. “Stone offered an unfiltered, unvarnished one-sentence expression of how he saw the journalist interviewing him.”
Ferris State University says the term “Negro” was among the most common terms used when talking about Black Americans through the 1960s. However, it fell out of favor in the 1960s as activists, beginning with civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael, who coined the term “Black power.” This, in turn, led to more Black people to move away from using “Negro” to describe themselves.
By the 1980s, “Negro” was considered socially unacceptable
Stone defended himself, saying he “despises racism” and anyone who knows him understands that.
“Mr. O’Kelly needs a good peroxide cleaning of the wax in his ears because at no time did I call him a Negro,” Stone said in a press release on Sunday. “That said, Mr. O’Kelly needs to spend a little more time studying Black history and institutions. The word Negro is far from a slur.”
O’Kelley’s station released a transcript of the interview.