BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
FLINT (CCN) — The current vice president of Flint's local branch of the NAACP faces a possible protest when he takes to the air waves for his local weekly radio show on Saturday. A.C. Dumas came under fire after another local radio show revealed controversial anti-gay comments the organization's former president posted on Facebook.
Flint Beat, MLive, The Flint Journal, NBC TV 25, WEYI TV 66 and various national wire services have now aired stories about the backlash Dumas has faced after callers to The Morning Gazette Radio Show exposed his Facebook comments. The Morning Gazette Radio Show airs every weekday morning from 8 am until 9:30 am on CCN Radio.
Dumas deleted an Oct. 4 post after callers flooded The Morning Gazette Radio Show lines for two consecutive days angry about his support for the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church's anti gay protests. Dumas deleted another post this week after callers complained that he announced he would not support Democrat Dana Nessel for Michigan Attorney General "because she is a lesbian."
"He should not be working for the mayor and should be removed from any public position, including from his radio show," said community activist Arthur Woodson who posted screen shots of controversial posts by Dumas to his more than 3,000 followers on Facebook. Dumas hosts a 30-minute weekly radio program known as "The Truth Shall Set You Free" every Saturday at 9:30 am on WFLT 1420 AM and he is an adviser to Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver.
Aonie Gilcreast, who is one of Mayor Weaver's top aides, has previously told The Daily Gazette that Dumas is not a paid staff member but has occasionally been reimbursed small sums for assisting the mayor with events. "The mayor does not employ him and has no power over what he does or says," Gilcreast said last year when Dumas aired slanderous statements on his radio show and on Facebook posts, accusing The Daily Gazette and The Morning Gazette Radio Show of "spreading fake news." Both stories questioned by Dumas quoted anonymous sources and both stories were confirmed by other media within a few days.
Dumas apologized after the two stories he criticized as "fake new" turned out to indeed be true, but questioned on his Facebook page why the stories were not also shared with his radio show. He also made it clear, too, in a statement to The Daily Gazette that his radio show was being used to "promote Mayor Weaver" and to "make sure she wins the recall election."
F. Anthony Lubkin, an attorney for The Daily Gazette and The Morning Gazette Radio Show, confirmed that the apology did not constitute a proper retraction required by law to avoid a defamation case. He noted, too, that an expensive lawsuit might not warrant sufficient collection possibilities since Dumas made headlines when his previous bid for a seat on the Flint school board was crushed by revelations about a personal bankruptcy filing.
Lubkin also said the latest comments by Dumas could become a "test case" to outlaw "hate speech" against gay people.
"It could become a test case showcasing standards for hate speech against LGBTQ people, as an example of a demographic group often victimized by such adverse commentary," Lubkin said. "What’s surprising is that a self styled icon of a specific ethnicity’s own pride and an often highly-postured outrage against perceived discrimination against his group in our local political arena would so casually aim and fire his own demographic missiles at another group which has similarly suffered from centuries of its own discrimination, and whose identity had nothing to do with the issues at hand. You’d think that someone who has made such an issue of how he has experienced such categorical prejudice would know better than to even hold such views, let alone trumpet these so loudly in his political dialogue.”
Dumas angered Morning Gazette Radio Show listeners last week after supporting Westboro Baptist Church that has been labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for protesting military funerals. The Flint school district cancelled classes when learning the group would be protesting outside Flint Southwestern Academy early on Oct. 5. It was the first of three protests they staged on Oct. 5 in the Metro Flint area.
The Morning Gazette Radio Show urged listeners to join a "love protest" outside Grand Blanc High School organized by local church groups after Westboro Baptist Church leaders were greeted by small crowds at the first two events (at Flint Southwestern Academy and at the University of Michigan-Flint).
Students at Grand Blanc High School chose to stay inside, but six Westboro Baptist Church members were met outside by dozens of people protesting their presence.
Dumas then yanked down his Facebook post supporting the group's anti-gay position, but replaced it with the following comment: "In the beginning, God created "MAN AND WOMAN" for each other! It is unnatural, unholy and an abomination against God's Holy Word to endorse any lifestyle that is contrary to the Word of God! Yes, even in 2018 the wages of sin still is death, but the gift of God is eternal life to all who embrace and are doers of God's holy commandments! It's still HOLINESS or HELL!"
The issue went to a whole new level after Flint Beat published a story that led to local TV coverage and wire service attention when Dumas announced earlier this week that he couldn't support Nessel because of her lifestyle choice. Nessel won a Supreme Court case in 2015 when fighting for lesbian couple April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse to have both of their names appear on adoption documents for their children. The case expanded into a fight to overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage.
"This is upsetting," Woodson said after posting a link on his Facebook page to the story published by Flint Beat about Dumas' comments. He reacted to a potential protest before his show on Saturday by telling Flint Beat's Jiquanda Johnson: "I would invite anyone to have a debate. That’s my conviction about homosexuality. It’s an abomination. I think it’s far more different than being an adulterer and any other sin. That’s my stand.”
Gilcreast's wife, Frances, is President of Flint's branch of the NAACP and she made it clear the organization does not condone Dumas' anti-gay comments. A statement was posted on the group's Facebook page Thursday after the story published by Flint Beat, saying, "The NAACP, since 1909, has been steadfast in our mission to eliminate discrimination in all forms. The Flint Branch is committed to protecting the civil rights of all and no statement made by any member, except the President, Frances Gilcreast, is to be considered officially representative of the Branch. Our focus at this time is to encourage every registered voter to exercise the most precious right...voting. Defeat Hate.. Vote!!"
Dale Weighill, who was the first openly gay candidate to win a Flint City Council seat in 2009, was also quick to issue a statement via Facebook. "Mr. Dumas has in the past sent me friend requests through Facebook, but it appears he would never vote for me should I run for office again. Seems like a strange distinction for him to make, but it’s one reason I will never add him to my carefully curated list of FB friends. The other reason is that he always came across as self serving, shady, and belligerent every time he addressed City Council (at least while I was a member)."
Weighill is a well-respected community member who now serves as Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Flint's Mott Community College. He served previously as President of Resource Genesee and served as the 7th Ward city councilman from 2009 until 2013.
Nayyirah Shariff, one of the leaders in fighting for justice during the water crisis in the City of Flint, went to Dumas' Facebook page to vent her anger about the situation. She wrote: "This isn't a good look...on no level. If I was a an NAACP member I would be turning it up at the next meeting. The Flint NAACP should immediately release a statement disparaging this homophobic statement. But I am not a NAACP member. I don't normally be out the house 9am on Saturday mornings but I am interested in carrying a picket sign to WFLT 1420 AM (314 S. Averill Ave. Flint, Mi 48506). If I can wake up at 6am to protest Westboro Baptist Church I damn sure I can wake up Saturday 9am to protest A.C. Dumas."
Shariff is Director at Flint Rising and the Grand Blanc High School graduate is a Flint resident who has previously worked as a field organizer for Stand Up for Democracy, Equality Michigan and hte National Gay and Lesbian task Force. Her role in the Flint water crisis was featured in the LifeTime movie about the man-made disaster and she introduced film maker Michael Moore during the recent premiere at Flint's Whiting Auditorium for his documentary known as Fahrenheit 11/9.