News & Politics

Reporter Who Broke Fake Hate Crime Advocated for Laws Protecting Dreadlocks

(Image via Twitter)

The local TV reporter who broke the fake hate crime story about the sixth-grade girl who had her dreadlocks cut off by white boys while being held down is an advocate for laws that would criminalize discrimination based on “natural” hairstyles.

Mikea Turner then used the incident as “evidence” of why the law was necessary.

Turner was apparently no stranger to the family of the girl. She promoted the family’s business on-air in 2018, according to the Daily Caller.

The fake hate crime was reported on September 25 by Amari Allen, who claimed some white boys held her down on the playground and cut her hair, calling it “nappy.” Earlier, on the 25th, Turner had tweeted out her support for the “natural hair bill,” which makes it a crime to discriminate based on hairstyle.

“Thank you for being a trailblazer,” she told a politician who introduced a bill in Montgomery County, Maryland. “I hope [Prince George’s County, Maryland] is next! … It’s sad that laws like this have to exist for people to just be themselves.”

The family was filming with Turner the next day. That led to coverage across the country, including in The New York Times.

Turner then conveniently claimed the incident proved the viability of the proposed statute on September 27.

Turner co-authored a Sept. 26 story online with the headline: “Sixth-grade boys pin down classmate, cut her dreadlocks calling them ‘ugly’ and ‘nappy’ at Virginia private school.”

“This why we need the #CrownAct to protect little girls like Amari Allen,” Turner tweeted on Sept. 27.

Perhaps most incredibly, Turner promoted the family’s “natural” hair products on air:

Turner promoted the Allens’ cosmetic line in a September 2018 news segment and an accompanying article headlined “Domestic violence survivor develops cosmetic line to inspire others.” The playground assault articles did not mention an existing relationship between the reporter and the subject.

It didn’t end there for Turner, who tried to milk the “hate crime” for all it was worth:

Following her Sept. 26 story, Turner tweeted relentlessly about the supposed attack and even helped collect gifts for the girl. She said she was scheduled to be off work but came in anyway to pursue Amari’s case.

WUSA ran stories about the alleged schoolyard bullying incident on Sept. 26, 27, 28 and 29

Apparel such as T-shirts saying “Justice For Amari” was quickly made up, and Lakeisha promoted them, saying “JUSTICE FOR AMARI!”

Did Turner collude with the family to publicize a fake hate crime to boost the natural hair law while, at the same time, giving free publicity to the family business?

Yikes.

Obviously, the little girl is far too young to have cooked this story up on her own. But the family is another story. They, too, are apparently involved in advocacy for the natural hair law, according to DC. But would they really stoop so low as to involve their daughter in a hoax and then use it to promote their business?

A final note: the TV station that Turner works for has made the story disappear:

WUSA then deleted all articles and video about the story. It redirected the URLs of some articles to a six-paragraph story (plus statement from the school and family) that said, “Girl who accused boys of pinning, cutting her hair, said she made the story up.”

WUSA omitted the names of both the Amari and her grandparents from that story, despite the family having embarked on a national media tour to promote the allegations. “Due to the girl’s age and the circumstances, WUSA9 is no longer using the identity of her or her family,” it said.

The DC made a great point:

Station manager Michael Valentine did not explain to the DCNF why it would heavily promote the identity of a family when they were accusing others of racism, but conceal their identities when the story became them falsely accusing others.

“The digital headline question did not include appropriate attribution and we have corrected that,” he said, but otherwise gave no indication that the news outlet believed it made errors in judgment.

This is precisely why we will continue to see fake hate crimes reported again and again. Not only do you get gobs of free publicity but there is absolutely no downside whatsoever to reporting it.