LaWana Mayfield
LaWana Mayfield

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Controversy regarding openly lesbian Charlotte City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield continued to boil through Friday night and early Saturday morning amidst her continued refusal to condemn the anti-Semitism and anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) hostility of hate group leader Louis Farrakhan after she attended a recent Charlotte event where he spoke.

Late Friday evening, Mayfield on Facebook accused qnotes of misrepresenting her interview with the newspaper. She also accused the newspaper of implying she attended a Sunday, Oct. 14 rally with Farrakhan at Bojangles’ Coliseum, though the newspaper has reported that she attended a separate event at Little Rock AME Zion Church on Saturday, Oct. 13. The accusations against the newspaper, which are available in their entirety in a screen capture below, came shortly after Mayfield accused a fellow gay leader of intolerance.

“Interesting, a paper tht [sic] I spent more than 30 minutes on the phone and they prints [sic] partial of what I said, prints an implication that I was at the event on Sunday when I was in Mooresville triggers multiple comments,” Mayfield wrote in a Facebook comment in response to another user who shared a previous qnotes story.

In the same comment, Mayfield once again refused to condemn Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic and anti-LGBT comments. Farrakhan is a documented hate leader with a documented hate group, the Nation of Islam, as noted by the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center. Other local officials have already condemned the remarks, including Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Charlotte City Councilmembers John Autry and Claire Fallon. However, Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners Chairman Harold Cogdell, who also attended events with Farrakhan, said on Friday he had “no regrets” about his attendance and also refused to condemn the hate speech.

In an additional comment responding to this writer’s note that audio of her interview would be released, Mayfield again accused the newspaper of misrepresenting her views.

“Matt since you choose to completely mis-represent and I have the time log in my phone there [sic] nothing to discuss,” Mayfield wrote in reference to this writer. “When you are about lifting up the entire community then you may be relevant. You posted parts of the conversation and that’s fine but with that said your style of reporting is when you do little to no work that lifts of [sic] the diversity of the community speaks to your character not mine.”

In response to Mayfield’s accusations, qnotes has made the decision to release the full audio file of Mayfield’s Thursday, Oct. 18 interview. We are also releasing a transcript. The interview, which occurred over telephone, was initiated by this writer at approximately 11:10 a.m. on Oct. 18. The telephone conversation ran for approximately 11 minutes, not the “over 30 minutes” Mayfield claimed on Facebook.

In the audio and transcript, readers will be able to compare Mayfield’s comments with our reporting in our original article, “Gay council member, others attended anti-gay Louis Farrakhan events in Charlotte,” published on Friday morning. As is common in all news-media, we did not publish all of Mayfield’s comments in our already-lengthy and in-depth original report. We maintain that our representation of the interview is fair and accurate. In the interest of full transparency, we are releasing the full conversation.

Readers are urged to take note of the several times Mayfield is given an opportunity to distance herself from Farrakhan’s hate speech. Each time, she declined. Readers are also cautioned to consult the audio recording as the chief authority on Mayfield’s comments as errors during the transcribing process might have occurred.

Screen capture: Mayfield’s accusations

Screen capture made at 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 20. Click to enlarge. Note: Another Facebook user’s comment has been edited out of the exchange.

Click to enlarge

Audio: LaWana Mayfield interview

Download (.mp3)

Transcript: LaWana Mayfield interview

Interview with LaWana Mayfield
Oct. 18, 2012, 11:10 a.m.
Interviewed by Matt Comer

LaWana Mayfield: Good morning

Matt Comer: Hey LaWana. It’s Matt at QNotes. How are you doing?

LW: Good. How are you, Matt?

MC: I’m doing alright. You have a few minutes to chat?

LW: Of course.

MC: I found out yesterday that you were among several people who went to the Louis Farrakhan rally — not rally, but the leadership conference that he spoke at Little Rock on Saturday. I’ve had someone come up to me with some concerns about that and I just wanted to have a chance to chat with you about that.

LW: What concerns did they have?

MC: They feel, well I think it’s somewhat of a legitimate concern. Louis Farrakhan has been named a hate leader. Nation of Islam has been named hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others. His history of extremist comments, anti-Semitic comments and homophobic comments. He has a much larger history that that I know and he has a much largerplace in American history above and beyond his extremist remakrs but people are concerned that an elected official went to an event with someone who had an extremist history. Were you aware of his past comments, anit-Semitic comments and homophobic comments?

LW: Yes, I am aware of the comments. I’m also aware that as an elected official, I am to represent all people in my community not just some people in the community and I attended the event as an elected official because we were invited to the event. But it’s for the people who were there at the event what they heard is him talk about not only the Nation of Islam but also Christianity and the fact that if you ask any muslim if they beleive in Jesus then the answer is yes and if they don’t then you need to look at that and he’s also learned a lot in his years and even though he still has his views regarding heterosexual marriage and not same-sex marriage, in AMerica you can have your views regarding your opinion. That doesn’t determine the law. Once we get a federal law passed then that will be what the determining factor will be because if you think about it there are still laws on the books especially in North Carolina regarding interracial marriage.

MC: Yeah

LW: And we just had a presidential candidate the other night that basically told women that they couldn’t be having children unless they married in a presidential debate. I would have more concern about someone running for president making comments like that and comments against Planned Parenthood than I would against Minister Farrakhan who speaks in large part specifically to the African-American community and more importantly specifically to African-American men telling them that they need to step up their role in the community and stop having multiple children out of wedlock… [inaudible].

MC: Yeah. You mention Mitt Romney and his sexist comments about women. I mean, is that any different from Louis Farrakhan’s comments about Jews and gay people?

LW: The difference being the candidate is running for president for the United States where he has the position to appoint Supreme Court Justices. He [inaudible] be in the position to create laws that will expand freedom or retract freedom… [inaudible].

MC: I’m concerned as someone who’s looking at this from a media perspective, I know that if an elected official had gone to an event were a person spoke and a person had a history of making racist remakrs, it wouldn’t really matter what other good the person had done in their history. Their history of hatred would outweight that. So, I’m just wondering, in your midn how you’re able to justify supporting someone who has compared gay people to Satan or said that Satan is causing religion to be divided over gays, how you can justify supporting someone who says that. I don’t think you would go to a meeting where a white racist spoke, would you?

LW: One, it wasn’t me justifying anything by attending. I was attending this event because, again, we are in the United States of America where you do have freedom of speech and as an elected official and I was not the only elected official that was in attendance but I’m not only representing just one segment of the community. It’s also not my place to listen to someone else give me their interpretation of what they heard. It’s up to me to attend and then interpret what I heard and learn from that. I’m not going to take verbatim anything anyone says regardless of what their beliefs are but it is my responsibility to learn the information on my own and not expect for that information to come third party.

MC: Okay, um…

LW: So, I’m not… Me being in attendance as well as others who were in attendance wasn’t necessarily a show of support or condemnation. It was a sign of education and being in the room and hearing first hand what was said opposed to hearing it thrid party and as an elected official being invited there are a lot of events that I have attended and that I will attend as an elected official representing the entire city and especially District 3.

MC: You sent out a tweet that said, “Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan doing God’s will not his own.” Is anti-Semitism and homophobia God’s will?

LW: The tweet that I sent out was different comments that he said during the event and as I said during the event what he recognized is the place for Christianity and the belief in one in God and in his son being born and that once his sone was born the world… [inaudible]. So, yeah, I tweeted throughout the event but I also tweet throughout most of the events I attend. Every event I attend I tweet out what’s going on and what’s being said at the event.

MC: Are you…

LW: There was some things that he said that I agree with. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything that he says and that’s with any organization and with any speaker.

MC: Are you willing to condemn his past anti-Semitic and homophibic comments and disavow yourself of any association with them?

LW: No. I’m not going to condemn a man for his past just like I would not want anyone to try to condemn me for my past. Each day that we live there is a hope that we’re going to learn and we’re going to grow and we’re going to do something better than what we did the day before. So, why would I condemn? That’s not my place. That’s the place of God. That’s not my place to condemn someone.

MC: I’m not asking you to condemn him.


LW: Do you want to condemn me?

MC: I’m asking you to condemn his anti-Semitic and homophobic comments which have happened as recently as this year when he went on a sermon about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and America headed toward that path of destruction because President Obama approved marriage equality. That happend in March.

LW: And what I’m saying is for the event that I attended on Saturday — I wasn’t at the other event. I did not read any other information on it. For the event I was at on Saturday, he did not condemn the president for any role that he’s played in moving the country forward and looking for equality for all people. But I don’t see, again, it’s not my place to condemn anything that someone else does whether it’s in the past or whether it’s in the future. That’s their pathway and their road with their religious beliefs on getting to greater enlightenment. That’s not my role. My role is to represent as much as I can the diversity we have in our community. I don’t have to agree with everything that you say. There’s not an expectation for me to agree with everything but I’m also not going to spend time and energy to take away from the real work that is happening on the ground and in my role to spend time and energy deciding whether or not somebody else should be condemned. That’s just not who I am.

MC: At the, uh, you were… Did you attend the event on Sunday as well at Bojangles Coliseum?

LW: No

MC: You didn’t. Okay.

LW: No I did not. I attended church on Sunday and then a community — then I went to take care of my best friend for six hours because she had knee surgery and I hadn’t seen her.

MC: I know you weren’t at the event on Sunday but according to The Charlotte Observer he did talk about homosexuality at the event. It was a very common message that we hear from anti-gay preachers. That he doesn’t hate gays, that he loves, the quote is quote loves my homosexual borthers and sisters but The Observer says they were disobeying prohibitions that were set out in the Bible and the Koran. What would you tell a young gay person who happened to be in the crowd and heard that and felt judged by this hate group leader?

LW: I would tell that young person that identifies as lesbian, gay, bi or trans the same thing I would tell if they set in the Christian church or Catholic church and heard the same information. You have the opportunity to build your relationship with God and know that God makes no mistakes but man makes mistakes every day.

MC: Okay. I may call back with some follow up questions later today. Thank you very much.

LW: I’m going to be going into a 12 o’clock E.D. meeting.

MC: Okay.

LW: If you don’t get me, that’s why.

MC: Alright. That’s cool. Thank you very much for being willing to chat with me. I really appreciate it.

LW: Okay.

MC: Have a good meeting. Have a good afternoon.

LW: Alright. You have a good one.

MC: Bye bye.

LW: Bye bye.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.