CNN host Rick Sanchez described the leader of an Ohio Tea Party group as "a bigot and a liar" on Tuesday, after he had first referred to Hispanic immigrants as "spicks" and then attempted to defend himself by claiming he had merely been quoting a 1960's Bee Gee's song.
Several weeks ago, during a march supporting immigration reform, Tea Party leader Sonny Thomas had tweeted, "Illegals everywhere today! So many spicks makes me feel like a speck. Grr. Where's my gun?" That original tweet appears to have been scrubbed from Thomas's Twitter feed, although a few retweets calling it "disgusting" can still be found.
"So he's referring to Hispanics with the most offensive word that you can use," Sanchez remarked, "and then he implies that he wishes he could shoot them? Nice."
Thomas's "racially insensitive" remarks have already caused an Ohio state senator to drop out of an event organized by his Springboro Tea Party group. Thomas appears to be known for his racist attitudes, and CNN found a photo on his MySpace page of him wearing a "white pride" t-shirt, although that also now appears to have been removed.
According to Sanchez, when CNN contacted Thomas to ask for an explanation, he claimed, "As I am a lifetime music lover of all genres, I always have some sort of song that can fit almost any occasion or situation. ... Coincidentally, the song 'Spicks and Specks' had been on my player. ... I made the reference to the song, not stopping to think of the era that it was produced from and taken out of context could be so offensive to some people."
But Sanchez wasn't buying the excuse. "So, he's blaming it on the Bee Gees?" he asked incredulously. "And he didn't think -- he didn't think it would be offensive. Really? Really?"
The original Bee Gee's song from 1966 has no racial content whatsoever. The lyrics run, "Where are the girls I left all behind, the spicks and the specks of the girls on my mind."
"Yeah, he is just a Bee Gees fan, like I'm Elvis," concluded Sanchez sarcastically. "That's a song about love lost. It has nothing to do with that Australian band singing about Mexicans. With or without the music, Sonny Thomas appears to be two things, a bigot and a liar."
This video is from CNN's Rick's List, broadcast April 13, 2010.