advocacy and activism

Tennessee’s Sonya Holt: I’m not racist, I have black friends

Sonya Holt

Sonya Holt

Sonya Holt of Elizabethton, Tennessee, United States was caught on tape saying racist remarks against Sierra Gilmer and homophobic words against Seth Loven. Holt has apologized to both Gilmer and Loven.

On July 4, 2020, Gilmer and Loven were among the Black Lives Matter protesters who gathered at Covered Bridge Park in Elizabethton. They were confronted by a group of counter-protesters including Holt, who was surrounded by other members of a far-right group carrying Confederate flags.

In a cellphone video captured by Gilmer, Holt repeatedly said that white lives are better. Holt also told Gilmer, “White lives matter, you black, twisted, crazy person!”

 

Holt was an employee at Keith Family Vision Clinic in Johnson City, Tennessee. She was fired after the videos taken by Gilmer and Loven went viral.

“I no longer have a job,” Holt told WJHL. “I don’t have any animosity towards the doctors I worked for. They’re great people.”

According to Holt, she attended the rally to show support for police officers and that was the first time she attended a protest. While she apologized to Gilmer, the former Keith Family Vision Clinic employee said, “I’m not racist at all.”

“I have black friends,” Holt continued. “I have black relatives in my family. The reason that I was angry is because I was being accused of being in the Ku Klux Klan, which I would never in my life be a part of.”

Apparently, Holt also had an issue with Loven’s sexuality. In a video he recorded, she is heard telling him, “You’re a gay homosexual piece of crap who’s going to burn in hell.”

Although Holt apologized to Loven, she blamed him for calling her Ku Klux Karen. He denied this and he is not heard saying such in the video of the incident.

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