Steve Crump, 59 — who works for WBTV in Charlotte — was in Charleston, South Carolina with his camera crew when a young white man who was sitting on the ground nearby began to berate him with racial slurs.
According to The Washington Post, the young man was identified as 21-year-old Brian Eybers. He was holding an iPad and recording himself when he encountered Crump.
The esteemed reporter said he overheard Eybers say, “There’s a black guy here. No, wait a minute, he’s a slave. No wait a minute; he’s a ‘N-word,’”
“I went from 0 to 60 in an instant, just like that. I just turned to [my cameraman] and said, ‘We need to get this guy on tape,’” Crump recounted.
Ironically, the whole ordeal occurred just 10 blocks away from the church where the Charleston nine were killed in a racially motivated attack by Dylann Roof back in June 2015.
Crump said in the moment that he was faced with such overt racism, he considered whether to address it or not. “Do you respond to it, or not? Do you let it stand?” he asked rhetorically.
Crump decided he would respond. As his crew filmed, he approached Eybers and said, “Say that a little bit louder. Come on, what did you just call me?”
WARNING: Video contains graphic language that may be unsuitable for some viewers.
Reporter confronts man who calls him n-word,— rosierifka (@rosierifka) October 21, 2016
Virginia man verbally harassed Steve Crump near Mother Emanuel Church. pic.twitter.com/7ZdfxT3Nld
After Eybers played dumb, claiming he called Crump “Sir,” he eventually confessed to calling him the N-word with a smug attitude.
“I believe I did call you the N-word,” Eybers said after Crump asked him to confirm if that’s what he had said.
Crump asked Eybers if he felt superior to him. “Yeah, this one does make me superior,” he replied.
Eybers continued with his insulting rant, “You’re a f---ing idiot,” he told Crump, chuckling. “You’re ignorant, so you really are a n-----, then. You’re acting niggardly.”
The heated exchange between the two men continued as Crump pressed with more questions about why Eybers felt inclined to speak to him that way, while Eybers essentially used his whiteness as a valid excuse.
“What are you?” Crump asked.
“I’m Caucasian,” Eybers replied.
“And does that give you a right —” Crump began before being cut off by Eybers.
“It gives me every right I f---ing need. You don’t give me the right. God gave me the right. I was endowed by my creator,” Eybers retorted.
Eventually, Crump retreated to his van and called the police. Eybers was later arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“I’ve been around hate groups, that kind of thing…but it has never been this level of volatility,” Crump said. “I’ve interviewed members of the Klan face to face, and they’ve never stooped to that level of vulgarity.”
Days after the incident, Crump attended Eybers’ court hearing. He reportedly told The Washington Post that he holds “no malice” against Eybers for verbally assaulting him.
“This young man has some issues,” he said. “I’m hoping at the end of the day, there will be a workable outcome.”
Crump’s experience serves as evidence that racism still exists for all those who choose to dismiss it. Unprovoked racist attacks occur against people of color day in and day out. Prejudice did not end after the Civil Rights Era.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucas Jackson