A member of the Harlem Globetrotters is sharing his views on after what he terms as a racist incident broadcast on live TV.
Maxwell Pearce, 24, took a stroll down to the moment two Birmingham-based anchors hurled a banana and other fruits at him during a live segment aired on WBRC-TV’s morning show earlier this year. Pearce went there to promote an upcoming event by the Globetrotters, an exhibition basketball team recognized for their frisky tricks and stunts.
The hoop star shared an edited version of the segment on Aug. 15 and said stated he was reluctant about going public at first.
“I was torn because half of me was concerned about jeopardizing my job, while the other half has wanted to call out an unfortunate experience,” Pearce said in a video posted to his YouTube page. “And I hope that by sharing this story, it can inspire people to voice their experiences of racism and discrimination with the ultimate goal of eradicating this behavior from our society.”
A clip from the January incident gives a clear view of the basketballer showing a few tricks when someone off-camera throws a tangerine at him. He hands the fruit back to one of the anchors, only for two more tangerines to hit him a few seconds later.
Then came the banana, which Pearce caught in his right hand.
“I couldn’t tell whether it was reality or not because I was in such disbelief this could happen on a live television segment,” he told CNN, recalling the “utter disgust” he felt.
Pearce spotted the anchors as Clare Huddleston and forecaster Mickey Ferguson, whom he slammed for their “unacceptable lack of awareness” about the deep racial nuances of hurling a banana at a Black man.
“Quite frankly, I’m having a hard time understanding how someone could work in the media field and not know that this is offensive,” he said in the video. “Whether [their] disrespect was intentional or not, it does not lessen the damage that was caused.”
Pearce said he was feeling down for not speaking up sooner, but said he chose to speak up after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, which sparked nationwide protests against police brutality.