MONROE, La. (KNOE) - It's been almost two weeks since Mayor Jamie Mayo gave a 'Key to the City' to Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. The Southern Poverty Law Center has declared the Nation of Islam a hate group. The SPLC made the declaration because they say the Nation of Islam pushes wild anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, denigrates American Muslims and deliberately conflates mainstream and radical Islam.
Mayor Jamie Mayo at a Monroe City Council Meeting. (12/27/2017) | Photo: KNOE
That's why KNOE has asked Mayor Mayo several times why he decided to give Farrakhan a 'Key to the City.' So far, he has refused to answer.
Wednesday night, Mayo did take the time to call KNOE and me personally unprofessional in our pursuit to get the answers you expect us to get. It's not unprofessional to ask questions of our elected officials. In fact, it's just our job as a news organization to ask the tough questions, to never stop digging to find the truth, and to hold the powerful accountable.
We first found out the Mayor had given a 'Key to the City' to Farrakhan around 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20th.
At 8:15 p.m. I texted the mayor and then his spokesperson, Rod Washington, trying to get answers about what happened and why.
Washington forwarded me an email sent to the News-Star with answers to their questions.
I then asked if the mayor would be willing to go on the record about this. That question was never answered.
Given the strong, emotional reactions we got from this story, we decided to keep asking the mayor for answers.
We approached him, our camera rolling, outside of a Christmas event. He again refused to answer our questions.
Whether we like it or not, this story is inherently about race and discrimination. Mr. Farrakhan is controversial because of his comments about those issues. He suggested that white people are evil and that other minorities, like gay and Jewish people, are substandard. He implied that white people were evil during his meeting with the mayor. Farrakhan said, "Don't let the fact that you're in a post that white folk held, make you think you can do the same things as white folk did. They may be out of office, but they're watching to see if you make missteps so they can get good out and put evil back." But the mayor's suggestion that KNOE made this story about race is flat out false.
Wednesday night, the mayor said, "I do know that he's trying to get another job, I'm talking about Mr. Brown, in another city but you're not going to do it off of me." The suggestion that anyone is trying to make a career move off the back of the mayor of Monroe is false as well.
At KNOE we pride ourselves on asking tough questions that lead to the kind of in-depth reporting and investigations you've come to expect from a news station with a legacy as strong as ours. We've never stopped before, and we won't stop now.