Globetrotters Player Maxwell Pearce Says Alabama News Anchor Threw Banana at Him

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Harlem Globetrotters' Hi-Lite Bruton, second from left, Ant Atkinson, third from left,  look at teammate Flight Time Lang, right, helping Pope Francis spin the ball on his finger as they meet during the general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
L'Osservatore Romano/Associated Press

Maxwell Pearce, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, said in a YouTube video released on Aug. 15 that two members of WBRC's Good Day Alabama show—anchor Clare Huddleston and lead weather forecaster Mickey Ferguson—threw tangerines and a banana at him during a segment in January.

He added that during the segment—in which Pearce was doing tricks with basketballs—anchor Mike Dubberly stood by and laughed. 

"Throwing a banana at a Black man and passing it off as entertainment displays an unacceptable lack of awareness," he said in the video. "And quite frankly, I'm having a very difficult time understanding how someone could work in the media field and not know that this is offensive.

"... Whether the disrespect was intentional or not, it doesn't lessen the damage that was caused. This carries deep racial undertones that date back to the early 1900s when black people were held in display in human zoos. And this is a prime example of how the effects of 400 years of oppression have impacted this country. This is symbolic of the daily microaggressions that Black people deal with, and I'm not going to be silent about it anymore." 

WBRC news director Shannon Isbell issued an on-air apology, per Jeremy Gray of AL.com, though Pearce had asked for Huddleston and Ferguson to apologize on the broadcast themselves, which has not happened.

"Journalists are expected to hold the powerful accountable, but in this instance who's holding the journalists accountable when they should be transparent?" Price asked.