BET founder calls protesters toppling statues 'borderline anarchists'

BET founder Robert Johnson says black people ‘laugh’ at white people pulling down Confederate statues because it won’t ‘close the labor gap’ – as Trump prepares to use US Marshals to defend monuments

  • BET founder Robert Johnson said tearing down statues across America and canceling TV shows achieves ‘nothing’ in the fight for racial equality
  • Such efforts are ‘tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on a racial Titanic,’ he told Fox News Wednesday 
  • It won’t close the ‘wealth gap’ between white and black people, he said
  • He said these actions are simply being done by white people to ‘assuage their guilt’ and urged them instead to ‘ask us what we think first’ 
  • ‘Give us the belief that you respect our opinion…ask us first if it hurts us,’ he said 
  • Johnson became the first black American billionaire in 2001 and has called on the US government to provide slavery reparations 
  • Calls have been mounting to take down racist and Confederate statues amid protests demanding an end to systemic racism     
  • Johnson wrote to Black Lives Matter urging its leaders to form a political party 
  • President Trump has put US Marshals on standby to help protect monuments across America and vowed to come down hard on protesters damaging them 
  • Marshals were told to prepare to be drafted in to protect monuments across the nation, according to an email directive seen by The Washington Post

BET founder Robert Johnson has called protesters pulling down Confederate and racist statues ‘borderline anarchists’ and said ‘black people laugh at white people’ doing it, as Donald Trump prepares to use US Marshals to defend monuments nationwide.  

Johnson, who became the first black American billionaire in 2001 and has previously called on the US government to provide slavery reparations, blasted protesters for tearing down statues across America and calling for TV shows to be canceled, saying such steps achieve nothing in the fight for racial equality.  

‘What white people are doing with the idea that they’re making us feel good is tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on a racial Titanic,’ he told Fox News Wednesday. ‘It absolutely means nothing.’  

He said these actions are simply being done by white people to ‘assuage their guilt’ and urged them instead to ‘ask us what we think first’.  

His comments come as the president put US Marshals on standby to help protect monuments across America and vowed to come down hard on any protesters destroying or vandalizing them. 

Calls have been mounting to take down statues and symbols of racist and Confederate figures amid protests demanding an end to systemic racism in the wake of the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of black man George Floyd.

BET founder Robert Johnson (pictured) has said ‘black people laugh at white people’ pulling down Confederate and racist statues because it is meaningless behavior that won’t ‘close the labor gap’ as he branded them ‘borderline anarchists’

Johnson, who says Black Lives Matter should form its own political party, said taking down statues misses the point about the inequality black people face every day in America and that it does nothing to close the wealth and opportunity gaps between white and black people. 

‘Look, the people who are basically tearing down statues, trying to make a statement are basically borderline anarchists, the way I look at it. They really have no agenda other than the idea we’re going to topple a statue,’ Johnson told Fox News. 

‘It’s not going to close the wealth gap. It’s not going to give a kid whose parents can’t afford college money to go to college. 

‘It’s not going to close the labor gap between what white workers are paid and what black workers are paid. And it’s not going to take people off welfare or food stamps.’ 

Johnson said white protesters are misguided in thinking that black people support their efforts to remove statues, cancel TV shows and fire professors who say ‘all lives matter’, saying ‘frankly, black people don’t give a damn’.

‘[They] have the mistaken assumption that black people are sitting around cheering for them saying “Oh, my God, look at these white people. They’re doing something so important to us. They’re taking down the statue of a Civil War general who fought for the South,” Johnson said. 

‘You know, black people, in my opinion, black people laugh at white people who do this the same way we laugh at white people who say we got to take off the TV shows.’

Johnson slammed the move to cancel shows such as The Dukes of Hazzard which has been blasted over its use of Confederate flags and the move to put a disclaimer at the start of film Gone With The Wind saying of the former that ‘I guarantee you it had more black people watching’ than white.  

He said white people think they are doing these things as a show of support but they are really only doing what they want to make them feel better about themselves.   

Protesters gather at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington DC, after the road was opened back upon Wednesday evening

Demonstrators wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts and face masks near the seat of the US government Wednesday night

BET founder Johnson has called for the leaders and supporters of Black Lives Matter to set up their own political party

In New York ‘No Justice No Peace’ is projected onto the building across the City Hall Wednesday night during a protest calling for the NYPD to be defunded 

A sign reads ‘City Hall Autonomous Zone’ in the Big Apple as Black Lives Matter protestors congregated at City Hall Wednesday night across from One Police Plaza

‘White Americans seem to think that if they just do sort of emotionally or drastic things that black people are going to say, “Oh my God, white people love us because they took down a statue of Stonewall Jackson”,’ Johnson said.  

The black entrepreneur gave a call to action for white people to stop assuming they know how to tackle the issue of racism in society and to instead ask black people what they want to happen. 

‘If you want to decide on statues and you want to treat black people right why don’t you do this – why don’t you get a group of black people together and say “before we go knock down the statue of Ulysses Grant or this, what do you guys think”,’ urged Johnson. 

‘Give us the belief that you respect our opinion. You go out and do something, destroy something, fire somebody because you think it hurts us… why don’t you ask us first if it hurts us… ask us if we want you to do that to make us feel better.’

Demonstrators protest in front of a police line on a section of 16th Street in Washington DC that has been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza

Black Lives Matter protesters gather in the day Wednesday days after President Trump threatened people with 10 years’ jail time if they damage statues 

A protester holds his fist in the air in front of the police line in the US capital Wednesday

The area of Black Lives Matter Plaza is shown cleared of protesters after a failed attempt to take down the statue of President Andrew Jackson at Lafayette Park on Wednesday 

The White House is visible behind the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park, Washington DC, with the word ‘killer’ spray painted on its base. President Trump has put US Marshals on standby to help protect monuments across America

A ‘Defund Police’ sign is hung on the fence put up to try to protect the Andrew Jackson statue. Marshals were told to prepare to be drafted in to protect monuments across the nation, according to an email directive seen by The Washington Post Wednesday 

ANDREW JACKSON AND SLAVERY 

By the time President Andrew Jackson died in 1845, he owned around 150 enslaved men, women and children. Jackson amassed much of his wealth due to the free labor, as they harvested cotton on the land surrounding Jackson’s Tennessee home, The Hermitage. 

While Jackson died 16 years before the start of the Civil War, he had to deal with the issue of secession during his presidency. South Carolina threatened to secede over what Southerners called the ‘Tariff of Abominations’ enacted under Jackson’s predecessor, John Quincy Adams. This political crisis, the Nullification Crisis, pitted Jackson and the federal government against South Carolina, whose legislature called for a special state convention to adopt the Ordinance of Nullification, which said the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were null and void. 

Jackson threatened to send the military into South Carolina issuing the ‘Proclamation to the People of South Carolina,’ which asserted the supremacy of the federal government. The crisis ended with Congress passing a bill that would have allowed for Jackson to send forces into the state, but also another piece of legislation that lowered the controversial tariff. 

He added: ‘That’s what’s missing in this whole thing.’  

Johnson even went as far as to say that white America making these decisions on behalf of black people is reinforcing the idea that white people know best. 

‘To me when I see all of these things – changing names, toppling statues, firing professors because they said “all lives matter” it just shows me that white America is still continually incapable of recognizing that black people have their own ideas and thoughts about what’s in their best interests,’ he said.

The debate over the removal of statues has heated up this week, with Trump warning protesters will be hit hard by law enforcement if they take matters into their own hands. 

US Marshals have been told to prepare to be drafted in to protect monuments across the nation, according to an email directive seen by The Washington Post Wednesday.  

In the email, Marshals Assistant Director Andrew C. Smith said they had ‘been asked to immediately prepare to provide federal law enforcement support to protect national monuments (throughout the country).’

Smith wrote that it was a ‘challenging assignment due to the breadth of possible targets for criminal activity’.

A Joint Operations Center is being set up in Springfield, Virginia, to coordinate the assignment and every deputy in the Special Operations Group will be ready to be called in by Thursday, the email read. 

Smith also called on other districts and divisions to volunteer deputies to help in the effort.

It is not clear what the role of the Marshals will be but they have been called on for their assistance until July 8, according to the Post. 

The unusual move to send in the Marshals comes after around 400 members of the National Guard were activated to Washington DC to protect a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park which has been fenced off after protesters failed to topple it on Monday. 

Riot police blasted the crowds with pepper spray to prevent the statue’s destruction Monday and Trump threatened anyone who vandalizes a monument or statue will face up to 10 years in prison.   

As the question of racist statues continues to divide the nation, Johnson raised the question over whether white people would be so willing to tackle the issue of racism if they were told to pay reparations over America’s history of slavery.  

A group of Black Lives Matter protestors prepare banners at City Hall in New York Wednesday 

Protests have been mounting across America calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism following George Floyd’s ‘murder’ 

New York protesters gather outside City Hall Wednesday and organize supplies ahead of a nighttime protest 

‘If you ask us what will make us feel better and we go “ok everybody start writing checks starting tomorrow $11,000 every year for the next 30 years that makes us feel better, are you okay with that?”‘ he asked. 

‘To me it falls into that attempt by white Americans to assuage guilt by doing things that make them feel good but if you ask those same white people “hey guys just write a $350,000 check to black people over the next 30 years, leave those statues alone just just give us $350,000” you find it goes into “are you sure they’re going to use the money wisely? Are you sure that’s going to stop racism?”‘

Johnson has previously called on the US government to pay out $14 trillion for descendants of the slave trade. 

He also went on to mock white celebrities who have taken to social media to apologize for being white.  

‘You know, that to me is the silliest expression of white privilege that exists in this country. The notion that a celebrity could get on a Twitter feed and say, “oh, my God, I am so sorry that I am white.” I don’t find any black people getting on Twitter and saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry I’m black”,’ he said.

Cops stand guard around the statue. Johnson said white people taking down statues is ‘tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on a racial Titanic. It absolutely means nothing’

Johnson said these actions are simply being done by white people to ‘assuage their guilt’ and urged them instead to ‘ask us what we think first’

Johnson’s comments come as calls have been mounting to take down statues and symbols of racist and Confederate figures from public places across America amid protests demanding an end to systemic racism in the wake of the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of black man George Floyd by a white cop. Pictured the BLM plaza is cleared of protesters on Wednesday

A lone cop cycles through the empty plaza. In Washington DC the National Guard has been called in to guard statues

The view of a fence put up around closed-off Lafayette Park across the street from the White House on Wednesday 

Protesters sit near police in the plaza. Police have pushed the police line back to include a block of the area 

Workers remove part of the cannon at the base of the equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson

‘And we got the worst problems, hand dealt to us of any people in this country but were not running away from being black. We’re embracing being black.

‘My thing is: embrace being white and do the right thing and then you don’t have to sorry about being sad because you’re white.’    

Johnson’s comments come after he called on Black Lives Matter to launch a political party dedicated to tackling racism and improving opportunities for black people.   

The black businessman penned a letter to the movement’s leaders and supporters suggesting ‘Black Lives Matter (BLM) consider establishing a formal independent political party.’

He wrote: ‘The party could be founded on the principle articulated by the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971’ of black people having ‘no permanent friends, no permanent enemies… just permanent interests.’

‘I’ve been convinced for a long time that 40 millions African Americans who tend to vote as a bloc in one of the two parties limit their leverage in getting action form both parties,’ he told CNBC Tuesday.  

Hundreds of National Guard troops are called back to DC to protect historical monuments after protesters vow to tear down statue of Andrew Jackson 

Hundreds of unarmed National Guard troops have been called into Washington, D.C. to help protect historical monuments after protesters tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson during a night of demonstrations in the nation’s capital.

US Defense officials on Wednesday confirmed the Interior Department requested assistance earlier this week after demonstrators targeted statues and established a so-called ‘Black House Autonomous Zone’ near the White House.  

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the government sources said the number of National Guard troops mobilized is in the low hundreds and none have been deployed to the streets yet.

Protesters were unsuccessful in toppling the statue, but they did manage to damage the wooden wheels of four replica cannons at the base of the monument 

Photos on Wednesday showed the bronze statue of Andrew Jackson at Lafayette Park behind a high fence reinforcing a security perimeter after protesters tried to tear it down 

On Monday night in Lafayette Park in front of the White House protesters tried to topple a bronze statue of former president Andrew Jackson and began to put up planks of wood declaring the area a ‘Black House Autonomous Zone’ 

It comes after President Donald Trump pledged to take a hard line on anyone destroying or vandalizing U.S. historical monuments and threatened to use force on some protesters on Tuesday.  

Photos taken at Lafayette Park on Wednesday showed the bronze statue of President Andrew Jackson behind a high fence reinforcing a security perimeter. 

Jackson served two terms in the White House, from 1829 to 1837, espousing a populist political style that has sometimes been compared with that of Trump. 

Protesters were unsuccessful in toppling the statue, but they did manage to damage the wooden wheels of four replica cannons at the base of the monument. 

Workers were seen removing parts of the cannons that were smashed during the protests this afternoon. 

Trump had tweeted earlier that he was giving authorization ‘effective immediately’ to arrest anyone caught hurting a commemoration to an armed services member on federal land, even though the government already had that power under the 2003 Veterans Memorial Act.  

Police were already on site Tuesday morning at the Andrew Jackson statue in front of the White House that had been graffitied at its base with the phrase ‘Killer’ after failed attempts to topple the monument

Protesters on Tuesday attempted to establish the area outside the North Lawn of the White House as the ‘Black House Autonomous Zone’ 

President Donald Trump voiced his fury over Monday night’s protests, declaring there will ‘never’ be an autonomous zone on Capitol Hill as long as he’s president and claiming those who try to establish such an area ‘will be met with serious force’

He later added: ‘There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!’

The tweet was later flagged by Twitter for violating ‘the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior.’

He also condemned the ‘disgraceful vandalism’ of the ‘magnificent’ statue of the controversial general Jackson, who Trump has touted as a personal hero, and also slammed people who defaced the exterior of St. John’s Church. 

On Monday clean up crews were seen hosing down the statue, washing away graffiti that emblazoned the phrase ‘Killer’ on the base of the monument. 

Police in Washington, DC, had used pepper spray to arrest protesters who were trying to tear down the statue while building the BHAZ – echoing Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) that was formed on June 8.

Creating such spaces is an occupation protest meant to establish a neighborhood without police. 

Trump has been vocal about his contempt for the zone, slamming its occupants as ‘ugly Anarchists’ while urging the governor and mayor to ‘take back’ the area. 

Earlier this month, about 1,200 DC National Guard troops and 3,900 from other states were sent to the capital to back law enforcement during demonstrations.The National Guard in Washington DC is the only one in the country that reports to Trump, with the authority delegated to the Army secretary. 

Minneapolis police chief says George Floyd’s death was ‘MURDER’ and believes Officer Derek Chauvin ‘knew what he was doing’ when he fatally knelt down on the 46-year-old’s neck for nearly nine minutes

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has called George Floyd’s death at the hands of Officer Derek Chauvin on Memorial Day ‘murder’, insisting the killing didn’t result because of a lack of training.

In his most damning declaration about Floyd’s killing yet, Arradondo issued a statement Monday night, insisting ‘Chauvin knew what he was doing’ when he fatally knelt down on the 46-year-old’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

‘Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there,’ Arradondo wrote. ‘Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for over seven minutes, and for those last minutes he knew that Floyd was non-responsive.

‘This was murder — it wasn’t a lack of training. This is why I took swift action regarding the involved officers’ employment with MPD,’ he continued.

Chauvin and Tou Thao – another officer involved in the fatal arrest – both had previously taken department training to prevent suffocation in people being restrained face down years earlier, the police chief said. 

In his most damning declaration about Floyd’s killing yet, Arradondo issued a statement Monday night, insisting ‘Chauvin knew what he was doing’ when he fatally knelt down on the 46-year-old’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds

‘Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there,’ Arradondo wrote. ‘Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for over seven minutes, and for those last minutes he knew that Floyd was non-responsive’ 

While State Governor Tim Waltz and a number of other public officials in Minneapolis have previously proclaimed Floyd’s death to be a murder, this is the first time Arradondo has staked such a claim.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington called Floyd’s death ‘murder’ on May 29, just hours before Chauvin was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, the Star Tribune reported.

The police chief’s statement was released in response to a public records request for department training records after questions were asked as to whether the Minneapolis PD upheld a promise to require all officers to undergo training on the dangers of positional asphyxia, following a 2013 settlement.

Arradondo claimed that the MPD ‘went beyond the requirements’ of the settlement – not only providing training but overhauling its policies altogether the following year.

‘The policy changes explicitly require moving an arrestee from a prone position to a recovery position when the maximal restraint technique is used and require continuous monitoring of an arrestee’s condition,’ Arradondo wrote.

‘It is important to note that getting an arrestee into a position where he or she can breathe is something that is hammered into all of our officers,’ Arradondo added. ‘And this began even before the Smith settlement’s required 2014 training.’

He continued by saying there is ‘simply no way that any competent officer in MPD would be unaware of the need to get an arrestee into a recovery position so that he or she can breathe freely.’

Arradondo then broke down Chauvin’s systematic failures to uphold the rudimentary policy.

‘Mr Floyd shouted out that he couldn’t breathe; bystanders shouted out that Mr. Floyd had stopped talking; then they pointed out he had become non-responsive; and finally they shouted out that Mr. Floyd was dying,’ the police chief wrote.

‘Further, one of the officers on the scene told Chauvin that Mr. Floyd should be put into a recovery position and he eventually told Chauvin he could not find Mr. Floyd’s pulse,’ he continued. ‘The officers knew what was happening – one intentionally caused it and the others failed to prevent it.

‘This was murder – it wasn’t a lack of training.’

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has not yet returned a DailyMail.com request for comment on Arradondo’s remarks. 


Chauvin (left) and Tou Thao (right) – another officer involved in the fatal arrest – both had previously taken department training to prevent suffocation in people being restrained face down years earlier, the police chief said.

While State Governor Tim Waltz and a number of other public officials in Minneapolis have previously proclaimed Floyd’s death to be a murder, this is the first time Arradondo has staked such a claim

Floyd was arrested on May 25 after he was accused of attempting to pay for groceries with a counterfeit $20 bill

Rookie officers J. Alexander Keung (left) and Thomas Lane (right) were also involved in the arrest. Lane had asked Chauvin if he should roll Floyd onto his side to help him breathe better. Chauvin replied ‘No. Staying put where we got him’

Staten Island principal laughs and jokes amid investigation into her ‘racist’ Facebook rant about privilege and students wearing $300 BEATS headphones – as 12,000 sign petition for her to be fired 

The Staten Island assistant principal who is now being investigated for a ‘racist’ Facebook rant about privilege was seen outside her home on Tuesday giving food to a black woman while her husband gathered recyclable bottles for the woman. 

Deborah Morse-Cunningham, 48, is under investigation for a Facebook post in which she claimed people living in subsidized housing and had ‘as many children as they wanted’ were privileged. 

Many deemed it racist and inferred she was talking about black people. She did not make any reference to race in the post. 

Others supported her remarks and said they were sick of ‘people taking advantage of the system’. They claimed more white people than black people claimed government help, and said Morse-Cunningham was brave for ‘swimming against the tide’ with her post. 

Cunningham has now deleted the post and is being investigated by the New York Department of Education. The school issued an email to parents calling her words ‘highly inappropriate’. 

Deborah Morse-Cunningham, 48, the Staten Island principle being investigated for a ‘racist’ Facebook post, outside her home on Wednesday 

Morse-Cunningham was in a jovial mood, smiling and laughing with friends before heading back into her home 


Morse-Cunningham (left in her photo on the school’s website) posted this on Facebook last week (right). It has since been removed 

Morse-Cunningham gave a tray of food to an African American woman who was collecting cans in her neighborhood on Tuesday night 

The woman’s husband then emerged from their home and gave the woman bags of empty beer bottles to recycle for cash


The woman is pictured leaving the property with a tray of food and the beer bottles 

On Tuesday night, Morse Cunningham and her husband Brian were seen outside their home, giving a tray of food and some bottles in plastic bags to a woman who was collecting cans and recyclables from their trash. 

She has not issued any public statement since the post went viral. In her post, she wrote: ‘What is privilege?’ 

‘Privilege is wearing $200 sneakers when you’ve never had a job. Privilege is wearing $300 Beats headphones while living on public assistance.

‘Privilege is living in public subsidized housing where you don’t have a water bill, where rising property taxes and rents and energy costs have absolutely no effect on the amount of food you can put on your table.

‘Privilege is the ability to go march against and protest against anything that triggers you, without worrying about calling out of work and the consequences that accompany such behavior. 

‘Privilege is having as many children as you want, regardless of your employment status, and be able to send them off to daycare or school you don’t pay for.’ 

The post was shared on Facebook and Twitter by angry parents now calling for her to be fired. 

One set up a Change.org petition demanding that she be stripped of her post. It has more than 12,000 signatures. 

‘Deborah Morse-Cunningham, a longtime educator and Assistant Principal at New Dorp High School on the South Shore of Staten Island, has decided to use her platform and social media presence to post anti-Black messaging during this time. She recently posted a rant to her public Facebook page, detailing vicious stereotypes and racial profiling directed at the Black community. 

‘As someone responsible for the tutelage of our youth, this is especially troubling and problematic rhetoric to say the least,’ the petition reads. 

In an email to parents, the school’s principal called it ‘highly inappropriate’.

‘We were made aware of a highly inappropriate social media post that was allegedly posted by a school employee. 

More than 12,000 people have now signed a petition demanding that she be fired from her position 

‘We are taking this matter very seriously and have reported it to the investigatory office.

‘We wan to assure you that New Dorp High School does not stand for or condone language that promotes intolerance or hatred of any kind.

‘The words contained in the post go against the beliefs and values or our school and do not represent us in any way,’ the principal, Deirdre DeAngelis said.  

In a statement on Tuesday, DOE press secretary Miranda Barbot confirmed the probe and stated: ‘The DOE stands against racism and schools must be safe and inclusive learning environments.

‘Teachers and staff have a responsibility to uphold those values, and the principal reported this incident for investigation’.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he had not seen the post, but was ‘very concerned’.

‘No one in a position of authority should use racially insensitive language, especially someone who’s an educator and kids look up to,’ he stated.  

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