A black radio host accused Roger Stone of using a racial slur during a live broadcast Saturday while discussing whether President Donald Trump’s longtime confidante deserved to have his prison sentence commuted.
During the interview with Morris O’Kelly on KFI-AM (640) and iHeartRadio, while Stone was apparently having trouble hearing the host, a voice that sounds like Stone mutters about “arguing with this Negro.”
Stone denied using the word on the air, telling O’Kelly, “you’re out of your mind.”
In a statement emailed to The Washington Post on Sunday, Stone suggested it was O’Kelly’s “studio engineer” who used the word. He also argued that “negro” is not offensive.
“The transmission as I recorded it is both garbled and replete with cross talk,” Stone said. “Mr. O’Kelly needs a good peroxide cleaning of the wax in his ears because at no time did I call him a negro. That said, Mr. O’Kelly needs to spend a little more time studying black history and institutions. The word negro – even though I did not use it – is far from a slur.”
He pointed out that the word was once widely used, including in the name of some civil rights organizations. But it fell out of favor in the late 1960s. In a commentary posted on his website Saturday night, O’Kelly called the term “the low-calorie version of the N-Word.”
O’Kelly added, “He didn’t see me as a journalist, not as a professional, not a radio host . . . but a ‘Negro’ first and foremost.”
The radio host had repeatedly challenged Stone’s account of the circumstances that led to his conviction for lying to Congress and witness tampering, and of the reprieve he received, calling it “swampy as hell.”
When O’Kelly asked why Stone had used the word, the self-professed “dirty trickster” denied it.
“I did not,” Stone said. “You’re out of your mind.”
Stone had bristled at O’Kelly’s account of his trial in Washington federal court last year. O’Kelly pointed to the email and audio evidence presented at trial that showed Stone lied during his testimony in front of a House committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“You’re not being honest,” O’Kelly said.
Stone has used the word before. In 2012, he tweeted that prominent African American television commentator Roland Martin is “a stupid negro.”
Stone has said he regretted the comment. In 2017, Martin told The Post that Stone is a “superficial, petulant, racist child.”
The media, Martin said, tends to “say, ‘Oh, he’s a colorful character.’ No, he’s a racist, sexist individual.”
Stone has also sought to portray himself as a champion of African Americans, waging a campaign for a presidential pardon of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, who he calls one of his “political heroes.” Later in the interview with O’Kelly, Stone touted that advocacy, as well as his support for less punitive drug laws, affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act.
“One thing that aggravates me is when I’m constantly called a racist,” he said.