Nation

Atlanta TV anchor responds on air to a woman who called her a racial epithet

An Atlanta news anchor and reporter responded on air Tuesday to a viewer who had written her an e-mail calling her an offensive racial slur.

Sharon Reed, who works for CBS 46 in Atlanta, said during the broadcast that a woman named Kathy Rae mischaracterized something she had said in a previous broadcast and wrote her an angry e-mail.

“You need to be fired for the race baiting comment you made tonight,” the woman wrote in the e-mail, which Reed posted to her Facebook page and showed on screen for viewers. “it’s o.k [sic] for blacks to discuss certain subjects but not whites . . . really???”

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Rae allegedly went on to say that Reed is not a black person, but a “racist (expletive).”

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“You are what’s wrong with the world,” she allegedly said at the end.

In responding to the woman, Reed clarified that she had not said white people cannot talk about race, but in fact that “race is an authentic discussion to have.”

“It’s one we’re having tonight because it’s one that you are talking about at home,” Reed continued, “and it’s one that has clearly entered the Atlanta mayor’s race.”

The response came the same day as the mayoral election in Atlanta, where Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood faced off in a tight race that was likely heading to a recount Wednesday morning. Norwood, who said she planned to request the recount but who was trailing Bottoms, would be the city’s first white mayor in over four decades.

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After tackling the topic of Rae’s post, Reed responded to the language, stating that though Rae had mischaracterized Reed’s perspective, the journalist would not mischaracterize Rae’s words.

“On Dec. 5, 2017, you think it’s OK to call this journalist a [expletive],” Reed said, using the racial epithet on television herself. “I don’t, but I could clap back and say a few things to you. But instead, I’ll let your words, Kathy Rae, speak for themselves, and that’ll be the last word.”

Material from The New York Times was used in this report. Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.