Giants owner Charles B. Johnson made a July 23 donation in the amount of $1,000 to a conservative political action committee called Black Americans for the President’s Agenda, which is responsible for a radio ad in support of Arkansas’ incumbent Congressman French Hill that many have deemed racist.
The Giants said in a statement that they were unaware of Johnson’s political activities because his role in the ownership group is “entirely separate” from his political contributions:
“The Giants’ reputation as one of the most inclusive and socially engaged professional sports teams in the nation speaks for itself…In no way do the Giants condone this disturbing and divisive political activity.”
The radio ad, produced by a super PAC funded mostly by wealthy white donors, features two women, who are ostensibly African American, discussing the Congressional hearings held in the wake of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
This is a real radio ad currently running in Arkansas in support of Republican Congressman French Hill on radio stations targeted to the African American community. I don't even have words to describe it. pic.twitter.com/vpzt1nGPlc
— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) October 18, 2018
The women suggest that because many democrats sided with Ford, supporting democratic candidates would lead to black men being considered guilty until proven innocent.
One woman says:
“Our congressman French Hill and the Republicans know that it’s dangerous to change the presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt, especially for black men. If the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration and all of her witnesses including her best friend say it didn’t happen, what will happen to our husbands, our fathers or our sons when a white girl lies on them?”
The second woman replies:
“Girl, white Democrats will be lynchin’ black folk again!”
The Arkansas Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint against Black Americans for the President’s Agenda for failing to register to campaign in Arkansas.
The super PAC primarily focuses on supporting Josh Hawley a candidate for Congress in Missouri, putting over $13,000 toward campaigning for him and an equal amount campaigning against his opponent, incumbent Claire McCaskill. They’ve run a similar ad in Missouri for Hawley, which dispenses with the reference to “lynching,” and instead says, ”black folk will be catching hell again.”
Johnson, who has a 25 percent majority stake in the Giants distanced himself from the super PAC Friday, saying in a statement that he was unaware of the ad:
“I, like the Giants organization, strongly condemn any form of racism and in no way condone the advertisement that was created by this entity.”
But Johnson, who according to Bloomberg has a net worth in the neighborhood of $4.8 billion, is a regular political donor to conservative causes and supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run, despite overt racism and sexism from the then-candidate.
Johnson is No. 55 on OpenSecrets.org‘s top 100 political donors for federal candidates, parties, political action committees, 527 organizations, and Carey committees, funneling a whopping $2,082,058 to support conservatives in the 2018 midterm elections alone.
This year he’s put $100,000 toward New Republican PAC, which campaigns heavily for Florida Governor Rick Scott and against his opponent Bill Nelson. And on May 18, Johnson contributed $25,000 to Stars and Stripes Forever PAC which spent $108,233 to oppose Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who represents constituents in south Los Angeles County, and $4,478 in support of former senate candidate from Alabama, Republican Roy Moore, who was accused of sexually assaulting underage girls.
Johnson also donated $300,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund which has spent thousands of dollars to oppose democratic candidates throughout California, including Gil Cisneros, Harley Rouda, Katie Porter, Josh Harder, Katie Hill and TJ Cox.
Until the release of the ad, the Giants principle owner’s conservative political contributions had gotten very little press, and it remains to be seen what if any fallout will result from his connection to this political ad.