Law Firms

Law Firm’s Satirical Holiday Card Backfires; Critics Claim Racial Stereotyping

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A law firm’s annual satirical newsletter takes aim at Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders for his recent controversial remarks about blacks. But its fake article, entitled “Sanders to Reach Out to Black Community With KFC Restaurant,” apparently missed the mark.

Morgan Hill, a law firm in Olympia, Wash., is apologizing for the newsletter, distributed this month at the Thurston County courthouse, the Olympian reports. The parody was intended to lampoon Sanders, who did not win re-election this fall, for reported remarks in which he said there’s a reason why African-Americans are overrepresented in the state prison population: They commit a disproportionate number of crimes.

The fake article asserted that black people are not “genetically inclined” toward eating a lot of fried chicken, but “they do in fact eat a lot of fried chicken.” It included a quotation from a “local brown-skinned attorney” that was written in ethnic dialect.

The e-mail led to complaints of racial stereotyping and an Olympian editorial saying the newsletter “was in poor taste and should have never seen the light of day.”

Morgan Hill sent an e-mail to the county’s chief judge apologizing for the newsletter, part of the firm’s Christmas party invitation. The e-mail reads: “It appears that after years of approaching the line with our annual Christmas invitation, a number of people believe that we finally crossed it. Obviously, this has put you and other personnel in a difficult situation, which we sincerely regret and for which we apologize.

“More importantly, we are terribly concerned that anyone would be left with the impression that we were endorsing or condoning viewpoints which we intended to mock and expose as absurd and naive.”

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