The quaint seaside town of Colonial Beach, Virginia, was rocked by the unwelcome distribution of KKK recruitment ads prominently featured in the local paper.
Westmoreland News ran the story about the contentious fliers and recruitment DVDs circulating around town but wound up mobilizing the movement by featuring the ad themselves.
The jury is out on whether the paper's inadvertent advertising was deliberate or not.
Resident Betty Tate Thompson told WTVR Westmoreland News prominently placed the ad next to the front page headline.
They posted the whole flyer as if they were giving them free advertising. It even had the number on flyer to contact the head of the KKK. Which I thought was totally ridiculous!
Police Chief Danny Plott admitted he sent the flier to the paper. He discovered the reprehensible flier being delivered to homeowners and informed the newspaper by sending them a copy, never imagining it would ever get published.
That kind of shocked me, and I wrote them a very strongly worded email.
The editor, Brittlynn Powell, contacted Plott and unconvincingly clarified the miscommunication.
She explained that she wanted to put it in to show people that those of us in Colonial Beach who may think there's not racism; there is and I think she didn't expect for this to blow up the way it did and with this outcome
Plott said the community began calling in their complaints over the unrest.
Most of them called and said could you come and get this crap,.
Unfortunately, it was racially hateful propaganda… In a free society… you are going to have people that say some pretty disgusting things in my view.
The paper said in a disclaimer that they don't endorse hate groups.
Westmoreland News in no way condones or supports the content or message of this flyer, nor does it condone or support any branch of the Loyal White Knights, or the KKK.
Readers were unforgiving and called for the paper's boycott on their official Facebook page.
"When I look into a newspaper from my community, I expect to be informed about the happenings of my local atmosphere," wrote Facebook user J Lemar Smith. " I don't expect to feel threatened, belittled, and unwanted. There is no problem with making the locals aware of the events surrounding these advertisements, but submitting a free advertisement on the front page is unacceptable."