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Program Information
 Wake Up Call Feb 6, 2001 off air altercation
 Clayron Riley, Robert Knight and Amy Goodman
 For non-profit use only.
Clayton Riley calls Amy Goodman a "white bitch" and Robert Knight a "slave."
Feb. 6, 2001 ~7:15am

Audio begins with listener calls and on-air exchange
between Amy Goodman [AG], Clayton Riley [CR]
and Robert Knight [RK].

After a crank caller blurts a racial epithet, Riley blames
Goodman, whom Knight subsequently defends during
customary greeting and chit-chat. Engineer Mark Linton
[ML] then cuts off studio microphones as "conservatory
quality jazz" plays in the background.

During this interval, Riley calls Knight a "slave" for
"kissing that white bitch's ass." Knight is incredulous,
Goodman demands an apology. The studio encounter
ends nearly ten minutes later when Knight presents his

According to Robert Knight:

"Two hours later, in the office of Interim General Manager Utrice C. Leid, and in the presence of members of her core staff, I was accosted, assaulted, and/or menaced by Riley, who stood over me as I was seated. He gripped my knees between his legs, rendering me immobile, while gesticulating in a wild and threatening manner."

(These events are referenced in a 8/20/2001 letter from
the staff of Democracy Now! (see below) who stated:

"Several months ago, Clayton physically moved in on WBAI reporter Robert Knight for coming to Amydefense, shouting repeatedly 'Stop kissing the ass of that white bitch.' Minutes later, he assaulted Knight in Utrice Leid..."


CR: Is this your plantation personality to say,
"NIGGER, I want an apology"?

AG: No, Clayton.

CR: Is that what you're saying --

AG: Clayton, you called me --

CR: -- "BOY, I want an apology"?

AG: -- You want, you called me a "white bitch ."

RK: She didnt say that!

AG: And I want an apology now.

CR: What are you gonna do, Robert?

AG: I want an apology now.

CR: What are you gonna do, Robert? You want to
continue in radio? -- I was talking to him!

AG: About me, and you called me a "white bitch."

CR: Did you hear me use your name? Maybe I was
talking about "her," maybe I was talking about
HIM. Maybe I was talking about somebody who
was out in the reception area. I didn't use
your name. I know you're used to using, dealing
with your "Nubians" in here, I'm not one of them.
You know -- you, THIS SLAVE, and the rest of your

RK SLAVE?! You call me a "slave"!?


CR: Mark, hey Mark!

AG: He's not a part of this. He's not a -- Clayton,
he wouldn't participate in that.

CR: What?

AG: He would not participate in that. He's a man of
dignity and he would not participate.

CR: Oh, now he's a man of dignity. When have you
told him that? When have you said that to him?

AG: Clayton... Apologize for calling me a "white

CR: Hey! Hey! Hey! What are you gonna do, herd me
over and cut my head off?

AG: Clayton, apologize for calling me a "white bitch."

CR: Hey, you don't make demands of me! Might've been
her, might've been somebody else in here. If I
wanted to talk about you, I'd use your name. Cause
there's plenty to say about you -- why your staff
kicked you out of Washington? How did you get in
here in the first place?


CR: We can play music for the rest of the hour if
you like.

AG: When you use racial epithets you have to go to

CR: He used the racial epithets.

AG: Ahhh, you used...

RK: The caller, the caller said "nigger in the
woodpile" and you said, "That's one of your
people, Amy!"


CR: Then why did you have to pick up on it?

RK: Because it was unfair, and I'm ethical.

CR: Well, hey, you didn't have to use the term on
the air just because the caller did.

RK: YOU didn't have to blame AMY for that either.

CR: That's none of your business, man.

RK: Of course it's my business.

CR: Why?

RK: Because we're colleagues.

CR: You don't defend me on anything do you?

RK: What?!

CR: [Voice rising:] You have never defended once
what people have done -- You wanna read this
CRAP? You want to READ THAT? What it says
about YOU AND HER?


RK: I HAVE opened my mouth!

CR: [Screeching:] BULLSHIT!

AG: We have condemned --

CR: [Shreiking:] BULL - SHIT!!

??: Actually, I'd like to read it --

AG: Clayton, I want you to apologize for calling me
a "white bitch."

CR: I dont care WHAT you want.... We can DIE right
here in this room. You're not at any time in
your LIFE going to TELL me --

[Answers "hot line." Phone conversation redacted.]

[Knight delivers newscast]


TO: Pacifica National Board and Pacifica management
FROM: Democracy Now! Staff
DATE: 8/20/01
RE: safety

As you know, the Democracy Now! staff spent last week negotiating
with Pacifica management over how our safety could be guaranteed. The
talks came after two attacks, one physical and one verbal.

On Friday, August 10, WBAI Station Manager Utrice Leid physically
assaulted Amy Goodman. On Monday, August 13, the Operations Director
Sidney Smith and morning show host Marjorie Moore began yelling at Amy as
soon as she entered the station. They followed her to her office, and when
Democracy Now! producer Brad Simpson closed the door after her, Smith used
his master key to re-enter. They continued to yell at us as we tried to
prepare for the morning
We left after our broadcast, believing we could no longer safely work
at WBAI. We waited for a response to our Friday e-mails to management
about the first attack. When no response came, we wrote our second letter
laying out why we felt we had no recourse, but to find an alternative
space from which to broadcast and produce Democracy Now! It was only then
that management responded.

For the next three days, the Democracy Now! staff negotiated in good
faith, attempting to reach agreement with management on a minimum set of
safety guarantees for our return. We agreed not to comment publicly during
the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the situation at WBAI deteriorated. On Thursday morning
before Democracy Now!, the newly installed morning show staff used the
time to encourage listeners to attack Amy and Democracy Now! As further
evidence of the increasingly unprofessional and hostile workplace, when
people voiced their support, the hosts either mocked them or cut short
their calls with the sound of a flushing toilet.

On Saturday, the verbal harassment reached a peak, when producer
Clayton Riley said on the air: "When you talk about the enemy, you find
the enemy, you isolate the enemy and you destroy the enemy. These people
have put themselves in the position of being the enemies. This conflict is
not going to end, in my judgment and let me be clear about that, until the
dissidents, until the so-called exile community is destroyed.

This echoes Station Manager Utrice Leid
"I need you stalwart soldiers out there. This is a call to arms. I
told you, it
These inflammatory comments are not just words. Several months ago,
Clayton physically moved in on WBAI reporter Robert Knight for coming to
Riley has also threatened to pay a hitman $400 to break the legs of

Democracy Now! engineer Anthony Sloan. He has screamed obscenities at
former Democracy Now! producer Terry Allen. In each case, we informed WBAI
and Pacifica management of these incidents. Management never responded.

Furthermore, Clayton was not disciplined, but rewarded: Utrice Leid
has since doubled the air-time of his weekly program. The hate-filled,
violent on and off-air harassment and intimidation only intensified after
While Pacifica management has offered to post a statement asserting
that WBAI is a nonviolent workplace, they refused to prohibit the on-air
personal attacks, which gives a green light for the kind of assault and
harassment we experienced last week. They also have refused to give Amy a
key to the station or even to her own office. She is locked out until she
hands over her home and cell phone numbers to the very person who
assaulted her.

We have an interim solution. As we have communicated, we have a safe
and even technically superior studio from which to broadcast. Democracy
Now! will continue to work at Downtown Community Television until our
safety at WBAI can be guaranteed in a meaningful way.

This will:

- preclude further intimidation, harassment and assault
- de-escalate the situation
- provide us with a technically superior studio at no cost
- lessen Pacifica
It also answers Leid
There is ample precedent for this arrangement. At least three men
broadcast from offsite studios daily for Pacifica and WBAI: Gary Null
(M-F, 12-1 pm), Armand DeMille (M-F, 1 to 2 pm), and Pacifica Network News
correspondent Bob Hennelly (daily for PNN and weekly for WBAI).

For these men, broadcasting from an alternative site is a
convenience. For us, it has become a necessary safety precaution.

We feel it is our responsibility to continue to provide Democracy
Now! to the Pacifica stations and affiliates, as we have for nearly six
years. Because WBAI is presently an unsafe workplace, last week we
broadcast from DCTV.

The programs were technically perfect, of higher broadcast quality
than even WBAI provides. But most importantly, we are safe.

Until we feel our safety is guaranteed at WBAI, the incidents we
described are adequately investigated and dealt with, and the on-air
personal attacks stop, we see no other option but to continue to produce
and broadcast Democracy Now! in this manner.

Our safety is non-negotiable. We hope you agree.


Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!
Kris Abrams, producer of Democracy Now!
Brad Simpson, producer of Democracy Now!
Anthony Sloan, engineer of Democracy Now!

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