I have a thing about being touched.
Unless you’re my girl or my child, keep your goddamn hands to yourself. Don’t brush against me in the hallway, don’t poke or prod me ever and you sure as hell better give me my six feet as long as COVID is floating around.
That said, I can’t even fathom being in a situation in which somebody would hurl a banana at my head. Sadly, Harlem Globetrotter Maxwell Pearce can’t say the same.
According to a video released on Pearce’s YouTube channel, he made an appearance earlier this year on Good Day Alabama to promote the Globetrotters by performing an assortment of basketball tricks on air. During his segment, weather forecaster Mickey Ferguson and anchor Clare Huddleston inexplicably started throwing fruit at Pearce as he performed tricks instead of passing him additional basketballs like a regular person.
“In a span of 36 seconds, two tangerines and ultimately a banana were thrown at me on live television,” he says in the video. “Throwing fruit at me diminishes the Naismith Hall of Fame legacy of the Harlem Globetrotters to that of a circus. But throwing a banana at a Black man, and passing it off as entertainment, displays an unacceptable lack of awareness.”
He then goes to explain how the situation has been difficult for him to process.
“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,” he says.
In response, AL.com reports that Pearce demanded that Ferguson and Huddleston apologize on-air, but thus far, they have refused to do so. The station’s news director, Shannon Isbell, apologized instead and attributed her decision to “the current climate regarding race and inequality in our country.” Per AL.com, Isbell apologized on Friday and on Good Day Alabama on Monday.
Pearce insists that isn’t good enough.
“This carries deep racial undertones that date back to the early 1900s when black people were held in display in human zoos,” Pearce said.
Pearce’s manager, Andrea Price, told AL.com that the station made additional efforts to resolve the issue that were insufficient.
“After several emails with Shannon, Max settled for an interview that was supposed to be done by Clare Huddleston, which would have been more meaningful,” Price wrote. “This also did not happen and Max moved forward with the interview with Ms. Isbell in order to have the important conversation and provide historical context, but then that was omitted.”
“When the interview aired, Fox omitted all of the historical information that I explained as to why this act was so offensive,” Pearce says in his video. “This is another example of how history has been carefully presented to favor and save face of the oppressor.”
So what does Isbell have to say in her defense?
“It was my desire to do the interview with Mr. Pearce personally so that he and others understood just how important this conversation was to me and WBRC Fox6,” Isbell wrote to AL.com via email. “My desire is that my team, our viewers/readers, and I all learn from this situation and take steps to self-evaluate.”
So basically Isbell is willing to do everything but force Ferguson and Huddleston to apologize on-air as Pearce has requested, something Price has no problems calling out.
“Journalists are expected to hold the powerful accountable, but in this instance who’s holding the journalists accountable when they should be transparent?” Price said.
This is exactly why Pearce has decided to go public with this ordeal.
“For the past five months, I debated on whether or not I should publicly share this story,” he says in his YouTube video. “I was torn because half of me was concerned about jeopardizing my job, while the other half wanted to call out an unfortunate experience. I hope that by sharing this story it can inspire people to share their experiences of racism and discrimination with the ultimate goal of eradicating this behavior from our society.”
Mickey Ferguson and Clare Huddleston the Black community is officially on your head. I strongly suggest you apologize to this man on-air at your earliest convenience, otherwise, this won’t end well for you.
And that’s that on that.