Just weeks after taking over an Alabama newspaper following the widely-followed resignation of the paper’s longtime editor, Elecia R. Dexter has resigned, CNN reports. Dexter took the helm of The Democrat-Reporter in the town of Linden last month when the former publisher and editor, Goodloe Sutton, stepped down after a racially-charged editorial titled “The Klan Needs to Ride Again” drew international attention.
“Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” Sutton wrote in the editorial at the time. “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama… Seem like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there.”
Following Sutton’s resignation, Dexter was unexpectedly tapped to lead the paper after joining the company only recently. She was working as a clerk for the paper and had no journalism background or experience.
Nonetheless, Dexter took control with the mandate to take the paper in a new direction.
Sutton, for his part, said that he now planned to live his life as an “out-of-work deadbeat” after leaving the paper, promising to “drink beer and sex young women,” while also committing to not do anything with the newspaper, which he still owns.
Dexter, however, says that things did not play out that way.
Elecia R. Dexter took over at the Democrat-Reporter of Linden, Alabama, after a firestorm erupted when the former editor wrote and published an editorial that began: "Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again." https://t.co/7c5JHkoa7w
— NBC12 WWBT Richmond (@NBC12) March 17, 2019
She, in fact, described a strange and unusual work environment where Sutton’s influence was still prominent. She said that he circulated an altered version of the paper’s February 28 issue to a number of media outlets, swapping in a prominent story defending the Klan editorial and even attacking a Montgomery newspaper for an interview with Sutton they had published.
Dexter issued a press release to set the record straight and make clear that the content had been altered and did not reflect her direction as editor or publisher. In another press release, she once again called out changes that were made by Sutton to Thursday’s edition and at the same time took the opportunity to announce her own resignation. She said that she was stepping down and that the paper would be sold.
“The decision to accept the role of Publisher/Editor of The Democrat Reporter was an honor and I have no regrets,” Dexter wrote in departure. “I am not discouraged, healing will come to the wonderful and loving people here.”
Attempts by CNN to reach Dexter for comment were not successful, and at this time, the only insights into her time at the paper have come from the press releases issued. She indicated that her resignation was necessary so that “her integrity and well-being can be maintained.”