Former Miss Alabama calls Dallas gunman a 'martyr'
Kalyn Chapman James put on adminstrative leave from TV station
First posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 04:01 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 04:24 PM EDT
The first black woman to win the title of Miss Alabama has been put on administrative leave from her TV station after calling the Dallas gunmen who killed police five officers a "martyr."
Kalyn Chapman James broke through the race barrier of Miss Alabama in 1993.
In a controversial Facebook Live video on Sunday
, she said: "I can't stop replaying the image of these men being killed in my mind and my heart weeps, but I think more than anything I'm dealing with a bit of guilt because," she said, pausing to cry. "I don't feel sad for the officers that lost their lives. And I know that that's really not my heart - I value human life and I want to feel sad for them - but I can't help but feeling like the shooter was a martyr."
WPBT2, Miami's PBS affiliate, where James hosts a TV arts program called Art Loft, put her on administrative leave.
"WPBT2 South Florida PBS does not condone the personal statements made by one of its independent contractors regarding the events in Dallas," the station said in a statement Monday, adding it will look "further into the matter and will determine additional course of actions."
The Miss Alabama organization has also distanced itself from James, noting that it's been nearly a quarter century since she was crowned.
Since the video went viral, James said on Facebook that she is "being threatened, harassed and called awful names."
Of the Dallas gunman, she said: "Micah Johnson is NOT a hero."
"I do not condone violence against anyone - I am against violence," she wrote. "I would like to see an end to black on black crime, white on white crime, black on white crime, white on black crime, ALL killing needs to stop!"
In an interview with WPMI, the NBC affiliate in her hometown of Mobile, James sadi she regretted the word choice.
"Maybe 'martyr' wasn't the right word, but it was what came to mind at that time," she said.
- With files from The Washington Post
Kalyn James. (Photo by Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Gottex)
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