Black media mogul Byron Allen stands behind ‘white president in blackface’ slight directed at Obama

As comedian and media mogul Byron Allen’s $10 billion discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s proceeds, controversial remarks made by the businessman about then-President Barack Obama being a “white president in blackface” were revisited: “And I still stand by that.”

(Video: CNN)

For the latest installments of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” the CNN anchor was joined by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, actor Michael Imperioli, and Allen, whose company owns the Weather Channel, for separate interviews. After addressing the mogul’s challenge to McDonald’s spending practices regarding advertising and demographics which had been approved to move forward in September, and other legal battles he has pursued, Wallace turned to political claims of racial disparity.

“So it’s not just big corporations you go after Byron, you also have had some run ins, you mentioned Barack Obama. With him, in 2015, after the riots in Baltimore, after Freddie Gray died in police custody, the president called out the people who looted the streets and called them criminals and thugs,” the host reminded. :And here’s what you said. You said this, ‘President Obama is at this point a white president in blackface. Black America would have done much better with a white president.’ Barack Obama, a white president in blackface?”

“That’s exactly right. I said that,” Allen unapologetically affirmed. “And I still stand by that. And what I said was, very loud and clear, he criticized those young black kids in Baltimore for the wrongful death of Freddie Gray.”

“No, no,” Wallace corrected, “he didn’t. He criticized them because they looted the stores.”

“Okay. They looted the stores. And what I said to them is, I am not condoning violence. But before you criticize them, position them to succeed, not fail. Don’t criticize them until you get them a proper education you,” the businessman continued.

At the time he urged the public to “look at the numbers,” before further asserting, “President Obama, you have let us down tremendously.”

He revisited those numbers with Wallace and noted how black unemployment had risen during Obama’s tenure while white unemployment had fallen and home ownership had dropped by 25 percent.

“You’re in the middle of a riot. He can’t sit there and change society,” Wallace argued.

“I understand. But Chris, you got to understand something. Why are they positioned like this? You need to address the bigger issue. These kids are sitting there and they’re positioned to fail,” Allen contended. “No proper education, no jobs, no economic inclusion. And by the way, it was a wrongful death. And at a certain point, you have to understand people are speaking out, because they are being abused. This is genocide. It’s just a slow genocide, but it is genocide. Look at all of these murders, look at all of these wrongful deaths.”

Despite his claims, Allen went on to assert that he has “all the respect in the world” for Obama.


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