Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who was ousted after Andrew Breitbart released a video selectively edited to make it appear as if she had made racist remarks, has announced that she will sue the conservative blogger.
According to the Associated Press, Sherrod told the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego today that she intends to take legal action. Earlier this month Breitbart released a video clip of Sherrod making a speech at an NAACP banquet in March of this year. The portion of the speech posted to YouTube showed Sherrod telling the crowd that in 1986 she had not helped a white farmer with financial difficulties as she might have helped a black one, purely because of his race. She was swiftly asked to resign by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and condemned on Fox News and by the NAACP. Breitbart, and many others on the right, used the clip to imply that the NAACP, which often points out that elements of the Tea Party movement are racist, was itself prejudiced against white people.
However, when the full, unedited video emerged it showed that Sherrod using the tale as a parable for equal rights. She received phone apologies from Vilsack and President Obama and has been offered a new job with the USDA (which she is considering).
Breitbart remains unrepentant, and argues that the video still shows racism in the NAACP. He has not apologized. If Sherrod follows through on her threat to sue, it will reignite a debate on race that looked, as the president discussed it today on the talk show The View, as if it might be dying down.
A call to Breitbart was not immediately returned.