DeRay Mckesson spoke out on Monday about the death threats he received from racist journalist Chuck C. Johnson. Johnson tweeted out that he was taking donations to ‘take out’ McKesson.
McKesson said he took the threat as serious, and so did Twitter. After several hundred people tweeted and marked Johnson’s tweet as spam, his account was deleted.
So, I woke up to this. Hate is organized in America. & yes, I take this as a serious threat. pic.twitter.com/V0zThcJJs6
— deray mckesson (@deray) May 24, 2015
“For someone who considers themselves a journalist, I firmly believe that he understands the power of his words,” Mckesson explained. “And his words are his words. ‘Take out’ functions in a certain way. And if I got on any media outlet and said something to the effect of ‘take out the police,’ nobody would think that I was talking about an exposé.”
“I was proud that Twitter took the action to move so quickly, and remember that racism doesn’t exist only in the extremes,” he continued. “It’s not just slavery and the n-word. It functions in these subtle ways too. He, again, knew very clearly what he was doing by using this language.”
Johnson has attempted to defend his tweet and said it was taken out of context.
“I was speaking metaphorically about exposing DeRay in much the same way Slate was speaking metaphorically when they talked about ‘taking out’ a Supreme Court justice,” he wrote.
Here’s the letter Chuck Johnson’s attorney sent to Twitter threatening legal action for deleting his Twitter account: