NAACP Calls SN&R’s Portrayal of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Racist

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A Sacramento newspaper is at the center of a racism controversy after releasing an issue last week with Mayor Kevin Johnson on the cover.

The images are cartoons of the politician in the Sacramento News & Review and the local Sacramento chapter of the NAACP is demanding an apology because of its stereotypical nature.

Stephen T. Webb, president of the NAACP Sacramento chapter, said the images are reminiscent to 1930 and 1940 minstrel show pictures.

“They’ve made him very, very dark, they’ve made very large lips, wide eyes, kind of a spoof on things,” he said.

While Webb said he is disgusted by the cartoon, the Sacramento News & Review is denying any wrongdoing.

The images of Johnson are part of an article detailing a lawsuit against the News & Review and the City of Sacramento by the mayor to block emails from being released to the public that Johnson argues are protected under attorney-client privilege.

The News & Review isn’t taking the allegations of racism lightly and released the following statement:

“The illustrations of Mayor Kevin Johnson in SN&R’s July 9 issue depict him as sweaty and nervous while reading about his lawsuit against this paper and allegations of email misuse.

These illustrations are based on an actual photo of the mayor.

We refute the NAACP’s assertion that the illustrations are in any way racist, violent, or perpetuating negative stereotypes, or that our coverage of the mayor is racially biased. Such accusations are unfounded and without merit.

SN&R has a 26-year history of supporting the NAACP’s mission. We look forward to continuing and strengthening that support in the future.”


The NAACP will hold a press conference Thursday morning in hopes of getting an apology from the News & Review.

FOX40 reached out to Mayor Johnson’s office and were told he’s on vacation and won’t comment on the situation.

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