On August 2nd, speaker Glen Casada became former Speaker Glen Casada. Cameron Sexton will be stepping in to fill his very small shoes during a special session August 23rd.
The disgraced now-former Tennessee speaker’s downfall can be traced back to his refusal to meet with activists who insisted the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest – the KKK’s first Grand Wizard – be removed from the capitol. This week, Casada’s also disgraced former chief of staff Cade Cothren, who was outed for using the N Word and calling black people “idiots”, among other things, joined them in their call to move the bust, saying in a Twitter conversation it should be “sent to a museum”.
The list of Casada’s transgressions is long – we did our best to list them in video form HERE – but the beginning of his downfall can be traced back to one very specific issue: The bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, which sits prominently in Tennessee’s state Capitol, and Casada’s refusal to meet with the activists who have long been calling for its removal.
🚨NEW VIDEO: THE SPEAKER @GlenCasada SUPERCUT🚨
The lies, racism, drugs, sexism, fraud, spying, bribery, and covering for child sex abusers that has gone on here in Tennessee on Speaker @GlenCasada‘s watch.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) May 10, 2019
Casada’s predecessor Speaker Beth Harwell Met with the activists, many of which are students. Casada would not. Instead, he gave them the runaround, dodging them in the halls of the Capitol and having his chief of staff Cothren lie directly to their faces about misspelled emails.
NEW VIDEO: “Tennessee Students to Governor @BillLeeTN – Remove KKK Grand Wizard Bust From State Capital!”
“We’re tired of being tired.” – @JeneishaCHarris
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 1, 2019
Eventually the frustration of activists Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris boiled over and resulted in Jones throwing a paper cup of iced (not hot) tea (not coffee) at Casada as he fled into a private elevator.
The assault & disorderly conduct charges filed against Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris respectively in the aftermath are still pending. (The next hearing is August 15th at 9AM in courtroom 4D)
Another issue still outstanding is that of Casada’s former Chief of staff Cade Cothren, who resigned amid numerous scandals of his own, and whether or not he falsified the date on an email date to make it look like Jones contacted Casada in violation of a court order, which would have landed Jones in jail.
Casada and Cothren claim the date discrepancy can be chalked up to an issue with the legislature’s SPAM filters delaying the email, and special prosecutor on the case Craig Northcott – the D.A. in Coffee County, who himself is under fire for open Islamophobia, homophobia, and a refusal to respect the authority of the Supreme Court – appears to be taking their word for it. Despite calls by Jones, and even Cothren himself, for Northcott to bring in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for an independent investigation about the possibly fraudulent emails, Northcott has refused.
The possible framing of a civil rights activist aside, Cothren resigned due to numerous other scandals – many of which Casada was complicit in – including lewd, sexist texts and behavior, an admission that he was doing cocaine at his desk during work hours, and racism. Lots of racism.
Cothren used the “N Word” to describe quarterback Jameis Winston. He said “black people are idiots.” The list goes on.
A lot has happened since the beginning of Casada and Cothren’s downfall, and so many Phil Williams stories later it’s hard to remember how it all started… but it can all be traced back to one thing: That bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard in the legislature.
Casada has not expressed a willingness to move the bust, instead saying that adding “historical context” would be more appropriate (without specifying what that means).
Govenor Lee says a “conversation needs to be had” about the bust, again without providing specifics, and just recently agreed to take action to stop celebrating July 13th as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” after nationwide backlash – including from Republican Senator Ted Cruz – in the wake of his signing a proclamation to reaffirm it.
This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law. https://t.co/XBgoRCBoI0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 12, 2019
While Casada and Lee remain noncommittal, Casada’s “N Word”-using Former Chief of staff Cade Cothren has now changed his tune, conceding in a conversation on Twitter with Nashville native @AliceRolli1 that the bust should indeed be moved:
The comment comes as part of what appears to be an effort by Cothren to repair his image, an effort that has mainly consisted of joining Twitter and sending Taylor Swift memes to his critics while using Taylor Swift lyrics to challenge them to a fight in his Twitter bio.
“Sure, send it to the museum” is clearly a flippant, dismissive way to come around to a position on a serious topic concerning a statue much of Tennessee’s African-American population considers to be a painful reminder of a dark past. That being said, it’s also a clear departure from the official position his disgraced boss Casada’s office held when the then-speaker was dodging Jones & Harris in the halls, turning a deaf ear to protestors who were imploring Tennessee leadership to listen to Tennessee’s black citizens and move the symbol of hate.
Cothren is clearly trying to make himself employable in the state of Tennessee again so his motives can’t be viewed as entirely altruistic, but if a Republican speaker’s chief of staff who once said “black People are idiots” and called Jameis Winston the N Word is now willing to publicly call for the bust to be sent to a museum… well, these days in Tennessee, that certainly counts as progress.
Video from the hearing of Justin Jones & Jeneisha Harris last week, presided over by openly bigoted D.A. Northcott, who says Muslims are “evil” and refuses to recognize the supreme court’s marriage equality ruling and treat LGBT people equally under the law (both stories broken by the Holler).
He also refuses to bring in the TBI to investigate Speaker Casada possibly framing Jones, even though they have offered (see below).300 Tennessee attorneys just filed a motion to have Northcott’s law license taken away.
The next hearing is August 15th at 9AM in Courtroom 4D.
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) July 29, 2019
From the Tennessean today:
Gov. Bill Lee has proclaimed Saturday as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee, a day of observation to honor the former Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader whose bust is on display in the state Capitol.
Per state law, the Tennessee governor is tasked with issuing proclamations for six separate days of special observation, three of which, including the July 13 Forrest Day, pertain to the Confederacy.
There have been repeated protests of the bust of Forrest, the KKK’s first Grand Wizard, which is still featured prominently in the Tennessee state legislature to this day.
The Tennessean reports that Lee said “I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law.”
They also remind us that Lee was found to have worn confederate uniforms in college, which he now says he regrets:
Lee earlier this year said he regretted participating in “Old South” parties at Auburn University nearly four decades ago as part of Kappa Alpha Order, a fraternity that lists Robert E. Lee as its “spiritual founder.”
The governor, a college student at the time, was also pictured in an Auburn yearbook dressed in a Confederate Army uniform, a common practice for members of the fraternity at the time.
“I never intentionally acted in an insensitive way, but with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that participating in that was insensitive and I’ve come to regret it,” Lee said in February.
Lee has said he may be open to “adding context” to the statue rather than removing it, but has done nothing to pursue that.
Rep. Bob Freeman has proposed replacing it with a women’s suffrage statue, and has vowed to introduce that legislation in the next session.
White supremacist Rick Tyler held a rally at UT-Knoxville, but his audience forgot to show up. Protestors outnumbered them 10-1. Sad!
Shout-out to Chris Irwin for the awesome trolling.
News Channel 5’s Phil Williams has a BOMBSHELL report airing TONIGHT AT 6PM that shows Speaker Casada’s office forged evidence to get civil rights activist Justin Jones thrown in jail.
Channel 5 also has text messages from Casada’s $200,000 chief of staff using the word “n**ger” and saying “black people are idiots”.
Jones has been a regular protestor at the capitol, where he and others have been mobilizing to try to get the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard removed from the capitol, where it’s still featured prominently to this day.
Jones and others protested peacefully, but things reached a boiling point after Casada’s office lied about not getting emails from Jones asking for a meeting – saying he had been misspelling their email addresses (we have them, they were correctly spelled).
Jones eventually threw iced tea at Casada in frustration, and was charged with assault.
He was released on bond on the condition he have no contact with Casada, and followed the no-contact order, so he was surprised when D.A. Funk’s office filed a motion to revoke Jones’ bail.
Funk cited an email Jones had allegedly sent to Casada’s chief of staff that was copied to the House Speaker, thus violating his bond conditions.
Jones knew it wasn’t true.
“It was a shock because it was my freedom,” he said. “If this would have went through to revoke my bond, I would be in jail right now until my court date. So this is not something I take lightly.”
Turns out the motion was based on a photo of an email with the date of March 1st — just one day after the no-contact order. But Jones had the original email. The real date was February 25th, which was before his arrest.
Cothren had originally sent Funk an email with a different date, then blamed that on an IT problem and sent the forged date.
And he says black people are stupid? Yeesh.
It’s not just stupid, it’s criminal. Forging evidence is a crime, and doing it to get someone thrown in jail is itself a felony.
More from Channel 5:
The DA’s office now admits their evidence came from the Speaker’s chief of staff.
“You have some of the most powerful people in this state who are willing to file a false report and to file a false paperwork and to manipulate paperwork to take your freedom away,” Jones said.
The Speaker’s reaction?
“I know nothing of that — nothing,” Casada told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
But anyone who knows Casada knows you don’t do anything without his permission if you work for him.
Not only did they try to Frame Jones, Casada’s office has also been found to be using horribly racist language concerning black people.
Text messages provided by a former acquaintance show an exchange with Casada in which Cothren appears to refer to a West Tennessee district with a “black people” meme.
In a text with other friends, Cothren said “black people are idiots.”
He also insisted that Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston be called a “thug n***er.”
It goes without saying that Cothren should be fired immediately, but more importantly D.A. Glenn Funk MUST get to the bottom of Casada’s involvement in framing Jones, which is a crime.
Nobody is above the law. If Casada knew which we’d bet the house he did, time for the Speaker to Go.
Funk recently apologized for this yearbook photo where he’s posing with a confederate flag (Governor Lee apologized for a confederate yearbook photo of his own also). Hopefully he understands what the right thing is to do here.
He has brought in a special prosecutor to handle the investigation. Probably a good idea.
Holler at Speaker Casada HERE.
There were more fireworks at the capitol today as police arrested a group of young voters who were again there to protest the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, which remains prominently featured in the lobby.
This was not their first clash with Speaker Glen Casada. Previously Casada and Justin Jones, a leader of the group, had a run-in after Chief of Staff Cade Cothren told Jones that the reason Casada wasn’t getting their emails was because Jones had misspelled “Capitol” in the email address.
We obtained proof that this was not true.
This time things escalated further as Jones threw a drink at Speaker Casada as he fled into the elevator.
Physical contact of any kind is something nobody condones. Jones and Jeneisha Harris were both arrested by troopers, and according to Natalie Jones of the Tennessean Jones has been charged with 2 counts of simple assault for hitting Casada and Rep. Debra Moody with his drink, as well as with disorderly conduct.
This confrontation comes on the heels of Casada cutting the mics of Rep. Mike Stewart and Rep. Bo Mitchell today as they were speaking up for a group of peaceful women Casada recently had escorted out of a hearing presided over by Rep. David Byrd. His office says the women were “disrupting the legislative process”. Video shows they were not, and that the hearing was actually in recess when they were taken out by troopers.
Before today’s arrests, Jeneisha Harris had asked Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver to sign their petition to have the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard removed from the state capitol. Weaver would not sign, defending her position with a familiar line:
“Some of my best friends are black.”
After being asked if she’s racist or if she will sign a petition for NBF bust removal, Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver tells protesters at Capitol some of her best friends are black. #tnleg pic.twitter.com/MYjgWyWs5B
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) February 28, 2019
It’s worth noting that Weaver previously used a similar defense when she was called out for posting a Halloween picture of herself with her pastor posing in blackface as Aunt Jemima, which Weaver captioned:
“Aunt Jemima, you is so sweet.”
Weaver’s defense when confronted about that?
“I’m the least racist of anyone. Some of my greatest friends are black.”
Maybe one of those friends should have a little chat with her.
If you agree having black friends doesn’t make supporting having a KKK Grand Wizard’s bust in the state capitol, feel free to holler at Weaver HERE.
And Casada is calling anyone who disagrees with him a “radical”, but if you think wanting a KKK Grand Wizard bust removed from the state capitol and an admitted sexual molester to step down is the opposite of “radical”, holler at Casada HERE.
At the capitol on Thursday, Speaker Glen Casada had a run-in with a group of young engaged and active citizens who have become regulars in the halls of the Tennessee legislature expressing their disgust with the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the KKK, which is still featured prominently in the lobby.
Speaker Casada slipped out a back door. The trooper initially wouldn’t let reporters out into the hallway where the protesters were waiting. He finally moved out of the way after @schelzig demanded they let us out. #tnleg pic.twitter.com/Zvj1Df6o09
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) February 21, 2019
The group had been trying to schedule a meeting with Casada for weeks. In emails obtained by The Holler, Justin Jones, one of the leaders, emails Casada and his chief of staff Cade Cothren with reporters copied on the email asking to schedule 20 minutes for the group to come in and plead their case for why the bust should be removed:
After repeated attempts to communicate, Cothren finally responds to an email saying “it looks like we can get you in during the first week of March”:
Jones then immediately responds affirming that date works, and asking for Casada’s position on the bust so they can be prepared when they get there:
A few days go by with silence from Cothren, so Jones replies again:
Two days later, on Thursday, the group showed up in the lobby to talk to Cothren in person. The video can be seen below, in which Cothren asks to see Jones’ phone, then tells Jones he had the spelling of “capitol” wrong in his emails and makes the claim that that’s why he hasn’t responded.
As you can see in the emails above, that simply is not the case.
The claim is even more preposterous considering Jones was responding to an email Cothren had already sent.
In the video, Jones then sees Casada coming down the stairs and asks him directly for a meeting, to which Casada replies “we’re meeting!” before pushing Jones, who had slid in front of Casada’s path, aside.
Troopers then forcibly removed Jones from the door Casada disappeared behind as Jones shouted through it.
Nobody was hurt, and things immediately calmed down as Jones and fellow protestors, including Jeneisha Harris, talked to the troopers, who assured them they were there to protect everyone.
As they talk to the trooper Rep. David Byrd can be seen walking by, which Jones points out might be something they should be more concerned with considering he has apologized on tape for sexual misconduct with high school players he coached, as CNN pointed out yesterday.
Casada can be seen in one of our previous videos about that topic lying on tape about meeting with those victims also. Anyone else sensing a theme here?
If you are, holler at Casada HERE to tell him and his office to stick to the truth, meet with the protestors, pull down the bust, and get rid of Rep. David Byrd, the admitted sex offender Casada promoted to chair of an education subcommittee.
When @GlenCasada put his hands on us- the trooper said “he had a right to defend himself.”
When Rep. Byrd admitted on tape to sexual assault- Casada said “he had a right to due process.”
It seems the only ppl who have rights in TN are privileged white men who abuse their power.
— Justin Jones (@brotherjones_) February 23, 2019
Yesterday a group of students gathered at the capital to ask Governor Lee to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a confederate general who also has the distinction of being the first ever KKK Grand Wizard.
Watch and Share the Video Here:
“We come in peace and love… we’re tired of being tired.” – Jeneisha Harris, TSU
The bust is featured prominently in the lobby outside the state legislature. The students are not the first to protest it, and they won’t be the last.
The young Tennesseans came from all over the state to make their voices heard, leaving letters expressing their feelings on the floor outside the Governor’s office and stopping to pray in front of the state troopers who stood guard outside the governor’s office
As Justin Jones of Vanderbilt Divinity School says, history isn’t just something we read about in history books, history is going on every day. If you agree with these brave kids and what they’re doing, HOLLER at Governor Lee HERE.
And please watch and share the video above, footage courtesy of WZTV.