An Afro-Latina journalist conducting an interview with a member of the Ku Klux Klan has said he threatened her so violently that she was concerned for her safety.
Ilia Calderón, a Univision journalist with both African and Colombian heritage, agreed to visit KKK leader Chris Barker on his wooded North Carolina property. She watched Mr Barker lead a KKK meeting – in which participants dressed up in hooded robes and danced around with torches – and then sat down for an interview.
Almost immediately, Mr Barker asked her why she didn’t “go back” to her country of origin. (Ms Calderón is an immigrant.)
“We have nothing here in America; ya’ll keep flooding it,” he said. “But like God says – like Yahweh himself says – we will chase you out of here.”
Later, Mr Barker stopped to correct himself, telling Ms Calderón: “No, we’re going to burn you out.”
When the journalist asked him how he planned to “burn out” 11 million immigrants, he responded: “We killed 6 million Jews the last time. Eleven million is nothing.”
Mr Barker is the grand wizard of the Loyal White Knights faction of the KKK, which participated in the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend.
One person at the rally died, and dozens were injured, when a man allegedly mowed down a group of counter-protesters with his car. The Loyal White Knights proceeded to praise the driver for “running over nine communist anti-fascists”.
“When a couple of them die, it doesn’t bother us,” Mr Barker told WBTV. “They’re always attacking and messing with our rallies.”
In his interview with Ms Calderón, Mr Barker referred to her as a "n*****” and a "mongrel". He also claimed that his organisation was a Christian group, not a hate group, and that he did not consider himself a racist.
Ms Calderón said she had not expected the level of vitriol she encountered.
“My team told me that I would be insulted, and I knew, but I never imagined the level," she told Univision. “...At that time I was really felt very afraid for my safety and the safety of my team."
The interview was conducted in July, before the Charlottesville rally and before President Donald Trump attributed the casualties to “hatred and violence on both sides”. But in an interview with Radio Blu, Ms Calderón said Mr Trump helped inspire the interview.
"As part of the editorial meetings we were discussing the incidents of hate that had been presented, and how, from 2016 to here, these people and these groups feel entitled to raise its highest voice – perhaps backed by a President who speaks very weakly about it,” she said.
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