Shirley Sherrod, ex-USDA worker: White House forced me to resign over fabricated racial controversy

One strike and she was out.

A black employee who resigned from the Agriculture Department on Monday said the White House forced her out after remarks that she says have sparked a fabricated racial controversy.

Shirley Sherrod, the former Georgia director of Rural Development, said she received a phone call from the USDA’s deputy undersecretary Cheryl Cook on Monday while she was in a car. Cook told her that the White House wanted her to call it quits.

“They called me twice,” Sherrod told the Associated Press. “The last time they asked me to pull over the side of the road and submit my resignation on my Blackberry, and that’s what I did.”

The controversy began after several media organizations posted a 38-second video clip of Sherrod speaking to a local Georgia chapter of the NAACP. She tells the group that she did not give a white farmer “the full force of what I could do” after he asked for assistance.

The video surfaced days after the NAACP quarreled with Tea Party members over allegations of racism.

Sherrod said her statements were taken out of context.

“My point in telling that story is that working with him helped me to see that it wasn’t a black and white issue,” she said. Sherrod added that the episode took place in 1986 before she worked for the Agriculture Department.

Sherrod said that she eventually became friends with the farmer and worked with him for two years to help him avoid foreclosure.

The woman who says she is the wife of the farmer referenced in the clip told CNN Sherrod helped her family save their farm. Eloise Spooner described Sherrod as “getting in there and doing all she could do to help us.”

President of the national NAACP, Benjamin Todd Jealous, supported the resignation, saying the organization has a zero-tolerance policy.

“According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race,” he said in a statement before Sherrod’s explanation.

“We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers.”

Read more: NYDaily News

NYDaily News.com / Aliyah Shahid