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Archive for Saturday, December 5, 2009

Statehouse Live: Otto defends “OPOSSUM” video to NAACP

December 5, 2009, 12:26 p.m. Updated December 5, 2009, 12:59 p.m.

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— State Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, said on Saturday that he was sorry his YouTube video has offended some people, but he told members of the NAACP that he stood by it and would not remove it.

In the video, Otto offers a self-described “RedNeck Rap,” in which he criticizes President Barack Obama. During the video, he is wearing a hat that says, “OPOSSUM the Other Dark Meat.”

The NAACP and several lawmakers have called the video racist and inflammatory.

Otto explained his position and took questions during an hour-long meeting set up by the Topeka branch of the NAACP.

Otto said he meant nothing racial in the video. “I had absolutely no thought of anything racial whatsoever in it,” Otto said.

Otto said the reference to opossum was meant as a joke about what he called his hillbilly ancestry.

But Otto said that he now understood the reference to rednecks and opossum as the other dark meat could be offensive to some people, and that if he did it over again, he would change that part of the video.

“I’m here today because I want to unite and I want to move forward,” Otto said. He said that in the Legislature he has worked on many issues supported by African-American lawmakers, such as an increase in the state minimum wage, and attempts to regulate loan companies. And, he said, he has since posted other videos saying he is proud that the United States has elected an African-American president.

But when asked if he would take down the “Redneck Rap” video, he said he wouldn’t because he has to stand up for who he is.

He also implied he could suffer politically in his southeast Kansas district if he removed the video. “To take it down would have serious ramifications for me,” he said.

Towards the end of the meeting, Rev. Ben Scott, leader of the Topeka branch of the NAACP, said he hoped the meeting would “move us in the right direction.” But he added, “Racism exists. I see nothing here that is going to suggest that it is leaving anytime soon.”

Rev. Ben Scott and state Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, speak after a meeting set up by the NAACP to discuss Otto's YouTube video that some have found offensive. The meeting at the Topeka library drew about 20 people.

Rev. Ben Scott and state Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, speak after a meeting set up by the NAACP to discuss Otto's YouTube video that some have found offensive. The meeting at the Topeka library drew about 20 people.

Comments

George_Braziller 5 years ago

Now this is just scary on so many, many, many levels.

"He also implied he could suffer politically in his southeast Kansas district if he removed the video. “To take it down would have serious ramifications for me,” he said."

Echoes 5 years ago

Bill Otto has embarrassed us in southeast Kansas. His views are not representative of my friends and relatives. The fact that he gets elected is a mystery to me. Mr. Otto is entitled to his opinion, but an elected official should respect the dignity of his office.

Mr. Otto degrades himself and those he represents with his antics. He could convey the same message without the theatrics and gratuitous "look at me I'm a dumb ol' redneck sticking it to the lefties".

As a registered voter in his district, I will encourage everyone I know to vote him out of office. I can't speak for everyone down here, but I'm embarrassed that we've elected him.

texburgh 5 years ago

Say what he will, the video is racist. It was not the hat - it was the fact that he points to it at the end of his long attack rap on the President and says, "Opossom, the other dark meat. Kinda greasy..."

Otto is a racist. The video is racist. And his defense is an insult to everyone who really does claim "hillbilly" ancestry. He changed to "hillbilly" after first saying it was his heritage as an "Ozark American." I guess he thinks it is better to disparage so-called "hillbillies" rather than the good people living in the Ozarks.

This man is pathetic.

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