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Several Civil Rights Leaders Call Newspaper’s ’12 Years’ Oscar Headline Racist, Demand Apology

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(credit: American Cinematheque)

(credit: American Cinematheque)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Most newspapers played the fact “12 Years a Slave” won the Oscar for Best Picture this past Sunday straight and to the point.

The Torrance-based Daily Breeze, however, chose the opportunity to make a pun.

“‘Slave’ becomes master” blared the Breeze headline.

Many found the headline in bad taste, insensitive or rude — or all of the above.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Michael Anastasi, the Breeze’s vice president and executive editor of news, told Yahoo News.  “It was tacky, ridiculous and frankly stupid. I can’t defend it, so I’m not going to.”

Anastasi told Yahoo that a meeting was held with all editors involved to “figure out” how the headline happened. He said the matter would be handled internally.

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and other civil rights leaders today demanded a formal apology.

Hutchinson and the other leaders also demanded that Breeze management require racial sensitivity and diversity training for its editorial staff  to ensure there’s no recurrence.

The group said that the headline suggests that slavery is a light, even trivial matter.

In addition to Hutchinson, other leaders demanding the apology include: Dwayne Wyatt, L.A Black Employees for Fairness; Debbie Washington National Council of Negro Women; Robert Taylor, Black Ministerial Alliance; Lita Herron, President Youth Advocacy Coalition; Pedro Baez, Founder Voice of the People; Skip Townsend, Cease Fire and Vicky Lindsay Project Cry No More.

Yahoo News pointed out that the Daily Breeze was not alone in attempting to make amusing word references in terms of the deadly-serious movie.

The website Gold Derby, for example, wrote “Expect a ‘Slave’ Uprising at the Indie Spirits today.”

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