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Harlem Globetrotter Calls Out Anchors Who Threw Banana at Him

Maxwell Pearce wonders how someone in media could 'not know this is offensive'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2020 7:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – A member of the Harlem Globetrotters says a reckoning on racial injustice has forced him to revisit an incident from January, in which news broadcasters threw a banana at him on live TV. Maxwell "Hops" Pearce appeared on WBRC's Good Day Alabama to promote an upcoming basketball game. The 24-year-old Black male was showing off tricks with two white male anchors when one threw him a tangerine instead of the ball, as seen in a WBRC clip. In an extended clip, shared Saturday on Pearce's social media accounts, another tangerine is thrown from off camera followed by a banana, which Pearce catches. Throwing fruit was disrespectful but throwing a banana at a Black man was unacceptable, Pearce says in the video. "This carries deep racial undertones that date back to the early 1900s when black people were held in display in human zoos."

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Pearce appeared again on WBRC in August to discuss the incident with News Director Shannon Isbell, who apologized. But Pearce tells CNN that he has not received an apology from any of the anchors involved. He specifically names anchor Clare Huddleston and weather forecaster Mickey Ferguson, per AL.com. He can't say whether the act was motivated by racism. But "quite frankly I’m having a very difficult time understanding how someone could work in the media field and not know this is offensive," he says in the video. After it was posted, Isbell apologized again. The incident "was intended to be lighthearted" but "became something deeply hurtful to our guest as the result of our lack of understanding," she says in a statement, adding "we are grateful for the several enlightening, educational conversations we have had with Max over the last two months." (Read more racism stories.)

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