Source: MJ Lee / Politico
Tavis Smiley, the PBS talk show host who has criticized President Barack Obama for not doing enough for the African-American community, says he was ousted as the speaker at a Martin Luther King luncheon because he was trying to hold the president accountable.
“I don’t see my role as one of criticizing the president. I see my role as one of holding the president – this and every other president—accountable,” Smiley said on Fox News on Monday.
“Something is wrong with this country … that so often the political right, and I am no defender of the political right … gets accused of playing the game of political correctness. What this underscores is that those on the left, the Democrats can play that game of political correctness as well,” he added.
Smiley was booted from the 20th annual MLK luncheon on Jan. 16 that is hosted by the Peoria Civic Center. The group announced last week that Smiley had been replaced by Michael Eric Dyson as the guest speaker of the event, citing people who were “upset about comments that Tavis Smiley has made.”
“What’s important to us is putting together a luncheon that celebrates the life and work of Dr.King,” luncheon organizer Alma Brown said last week, according to a local report. “And it became evident over the last few days that people were upset about comments that Tavis Smiley had made, comments that we weren’t aware of unfortunately so we made the decision to cancel his contract.”
Smiley said Monday that some 1,500 guests had bought tickets to attend the luncheon, but the “six people” that complained ended up “trumping the entire event,” calling the situation a “quintessential example of political correctness.”
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