Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod to sue blogger Andrew Breitbart

Friday, July 30, 2010

Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod has said that she'll "definitely sue" conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.
Image: United States Department of Agriculture.

Shirley Sherrod, an African-American employee of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) who was ousted last week, has said that she will "definitely sue" conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart over a video clip posted online at, operated by Breitbart, that made her appear racist.

Formerly the director of rural development in Georgia, Sherrod was referred to on Breitbart's site as a "racist govt employee," and the video had been edited to make her appear to have discriminated against Caucasians. Sherrod spoke in March of this year at an NAACP meeting. The clip edited from the original video footage of this meeting misrepresents Sherrod as deliberately failing to support a white farmer because of his race. In reality, the full video revealed that Sherrod was speaking about racial reconciliation and the lessons she learned after the episode. However, the USDA asked Sherrod to resign before the full video was released. The farmer mentioned in the video and his wife later stated that Sherrod had actually helped to save their farm, and after the full video was made public, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and US President Barack Obama apologised and Vilsack offered Sherrod a new job with the USDA. However, Sherrod said that she has not decided whether to accept the new position.

Breitbart said that he posted the edited clip to prove that the NAACP has racist elements, and has not apologised to Sherrod. Shortly before the video clip was posted, the NAACP had demanded that the Tea Party, a conservative activist group that Breitbart is active in, remove racism from parts of that group.

However, Sherrod says that she no longer wants an apology. "He had to know that he was targeting me," the 62-year-old said at a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.