White Judicial Candidate Complains of 'Insensitive' Backlash After He Compares Black Judge to Gorilla

Eric Grimm
YouTube screenshot

A Muskegon, Mich., lawyer who is running for a judicial position in Muskegon County's probate court has apologized for recent comments he made comparing a sitting judge to a gorilla, MLive reports.

The incident started when lawyer Eric C. Grimm sent out an email July 10 to friends and colleagues asking for votes while criticizing sitting Muskegon County Probate Court Judge Gregory C. Pittman as a bully, the site notes.


"I can understand why some of the other candidates may not want to speak up about the 800-pound silverback alpha male in the middle of the probate court," Grimm wrote. "They are each considerably less free to walk away and refuse to have anything to do with this court if the bullying problem is not fixed."

Needless to say, he was met with swift backlash for his choice of words, and Grimm has apologized, calling the "so-called ‘outrage’” over his comments "overblown" and "insensitive in itself."

"I pleaded guilty to 'insensitivity.' I accepted personal responsibility for a momentary lapse of judgment—to a mistake that led to saying something insensitive," Grimm said in a statement. "I apologized promptly. I took responsibility for and ownership of what I did wrong. And, as I said at the television interview, in a display of contrition, I am sentencing myself to 100 hours of community service, in the very same community most adversely impacted by my mistake.

"I got carried away with the artfulness of a triple metaphor, and lost sight of the optics. It was clumsy and I regret it. The ensuing so-called 'outrage' is overblown, insensitive in itself, and a charade," he added.


MLive noted that Grimm was not willing to retract his broader statements accusing Pittman of bullying candidates.

"My purpose running in the primary is to expose the problems in the courthouse," Grimm said.


Pittman declined to respond to what he called the "trite and bigoted remarks and imagery" made by Grimm.

"It is left to each of us in this community to draw our own conclusions about Eric Grimm, his mindset and its place in our community," Pittman said.


The Muskegon County Bar Association released its own statement, saying, "It does not condone racially motivated or bigoted comments from any member, attorney or person."

Pittman, who was elected in 2012, won't be up for re-election until 2018. Grimm is among four others running for a judicial position in Muskegon County's probate court, with the top two candidates in the primary, scheduled for Aug. 2, going on to compete in the Nov. 8 general election, MLive notes.


Read more at MLive.

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