Ariz. NAACP President Issues Expletive-Laced Apology After Being Caught on Audio Commenting on Reporter’s ‘T–s’

Don Harris was leaving a racial-sensitivity gathering in Phoenix, held after several students used T-shirts to spell out the n-word, when he was caught on tape commenting about a reporter’s breasts.

Don Harris, president of the Maricopa County, Ariz., chapter of the NAACP
Don Harris, president of the Maricopa County, Ariz., chapter of the NAACP ABC 15

It was supposed to have been a discussion about racial sensitivity during a meeting with members of the community after a group of Phoenix high school students used their T-shirts to spell out the n-word. Shortly after the meeting let out last week, 77-year-old attorney and civil rights leader Don Harris, who is white and also the president of the Maricopa County, Ariz., chapter of the NAACP, stole the show after he was heard commenting about a reporter’s breasts, the Huffington Post reports.

“Nice [t–s],” he said to a male reporter for the Phoenix New Times, most likely referring to KPNX reporter Monique Griego, who was standing near the two, the Huffington Post reports. When asked about the comment, which was captured on audio and posted online, Harris told the New Times, “I apologize if anyone was offended. I could have said nothing … I’m really [f–king] sorry.”

Harris, who calls himself “one of the best goddamned people in the state,” noted that he was going to “slash” his “wrists” when asked if he would now be championing sexist issues alongside racist ones.

“Better yet,” he told the New Times, “I’m going to throw myself out of a [f–king] window, except I’m on the first floor.”

Harris, who is known for “brash, politically incorrect comments,” according to the newspaper, continued his awkward apology tour, telling ABC 15, “It was a guy talking to another guy. That still doesn’t make it acceptable.”

Harris added that he has offered to resign if the NAACP chapter’s executive board sees fit.

“I said if they want me gone, I’m gone,” Harris told the newspaper. “I’m not ducking from anything. I did something stupid and wrong, and I’m sorry for it. I can’t beat myself forever about it. I said it. And I can’t be any more sincere.”

According to HuffPost, Harris came to be the NAACP Maricopa County chapter president in 2014 after no one else applied to run. Harris, who was on the chapter’s executive board, figured that his submission of his name would surely draw out interested candidates. But no one stepped up to run against him, and he was elected president. 

KPNX noted that news reporter Griego would not be commenting on the story.