*The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz has done a very interesting piece on former ABC-TV anchor Carole Simpson, whose new memoir – “News Lady” – chronicles a career marred by racist and sexist attacks.
Kurtz writes that Simpson was a rookie radio reporter in 1966 when she conducted an all-night stakeout of visiting civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and blurted out: “I’m the only Negro female reporter in Chicago!” She got him to tell her why he was there (to challenge Mayor Daley-the original Mayor Daley-on segregated housing). That was her first big break.
But it hasn’t been easy for Simpson. In fact it could be argued that being a good looking black female seems to have been more of a curse than a blessing for her:
Race has always loomed large for the scrappy South Side native. Simpson reveals a slew of race-related battles with ABC News, including her account that she was pushed out the door after a 25-year career.
What’s most striking about the book is that some of the most cringe-inducing incidents occurred not just in the early phase of her career, when black women were a rarity in the senior ranks of television news, but years after you would assume that the fried-chicken jokes had stopped. Even if Simpson is enlarging these episodes through the mists of memory, her anger-and sometimes her tears-shows they left an indelible mark.
Her troubles began at NBC in 1974 when she became the first black woman to work in the Washington bureau. After a long stint when she couldn’t get on the air, word got back to Simpson that she was deemed “lazy.”
“To me that was a racial epithet,” she writes. “Black people-to ignorant people-don’t want to work, are stupid, and unqualified.” After threatening to quit-and go public about the racial and gender reasons-Simpson was suddenly back on NBC Nightly News.
Kurtz also writes that despite the books’ strong racial theme, Simpson says the sexual harassment was actually worse, describing male colleagues brushing against her breasts, pulling down a dress zipper, commenting on her butt or saying, in one case, “The way you’re looking I could fuck you on the spot.”
Daayuuum! I think I’ll click over to Amazon.com right now to get a copy of “News Lady.” In the meantime, read MORE of this Howard Kurtz story, HERE.