In text messages to BuzzFeed News, Stone denied calling Morris O’Kelly a “negro” and said that the word is “far from a slur.”
Roger Stone, a long-time Donald Trump ally and adviser, called a Black radio host a racial slur during one of his first interviews since the president commuted his 40-month prison sentence earlier this month.
On Saturday, the 67-year-old Stone appeared on The Mo’Kelly Show, which is broadcast on weekends from KFI AM640 in Los Angeles, to discuss the commutation of his sentence for lying to Congress, obstructing investigators, and tampering with witnesses.
When the program’s host, Morris O’Kelly, questioned Stone about whether his friendship with Trump had played a role in his avoiding prison, Stone appeared to become frustrated and muttered a line with the racial slur “negro.”
“There are thousands of people treated unfairly daily, how your number just happened to come up in the lottery, I’m guessing was more than just luck, Roger, right?” O’Kelly asked Stone.
Stone, who was on the phone, then appeared to mutter a line that included the words “arguing with this negro.” The first few words of his sentence were muffled and hard to understand.
O’Kelly asked Stone to repeat what he said, but the line went silent for several seconds, during which a sigh could be heard.
O’Kelly then asked Stone if he wanted to continue the “very spirited conversation,” after which Stone responded, “Uhh, you’re back” and suggested that there were technical difficulties.
When O’Kelly confronted Stone about whether he used the word “negro,” the political adviser became agitated and denied it, telling the host, “You’re out of your mind.” The interview then continued for another 17 minutes.
Stone denied using the racial slur in text messages to BuzzFeed News on Sunday, saying, “Mr. O’Kelly needs a good peroxide cleaning of the wax in his ears because at no time did I call him a negro.”
He also defended the use of the word, saying it “is far from a slur,” and said that O’Kelly should “spend a little more time studying black history and institutions.”
In his statement, Stone claimed that it was O’Kelly’s studio engineer who used “the alleged epitaph (sic)” and accused the engineer of cutting off his sound feed.
“This is a smear designed to boost Mr. Kelly’s meager ratings at my expense,” Stone wrote in the statement.
A producer for O’Kelly’s show did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment on Stone’s accusations.
Addressing the incident on his website, O’Kelly said that Stone denied saying the slur, but that “the audio is what it is.”
“He didn’t see me as a journalist, not as a professional, not a radio host…but a ‘negro’ first and foremost,” O’Kelly said. “Thirty years as an entertainment professional, twenty of them in radio. ‘Negro’ was the first pejorative uttered. The low-calorie version of the N-Word.”
In texts with BuzzFeed News on Sunday, Stone questioned why O’Kelly continued to interview him.
“Why did he continue to kiss my ass for 45 minutes after I allegedly insulted him,” Stone said in a text. “If you listen to the interview my campaign advice to the president was to take cannabis off the DEA schedule one list immediately. That’s called the lede he buried the real story.”
“I have hired the best technicians in the country and will disapprove (sic) shortly,” Stone wrote.
On a Sunday episode of his program, O’Kelly said that despite the slur he kept Stone on the line for the benefit of his listeners.
“The only thing I felt was true, honest, and sincere that Roger Stone said was in that moment that he thought I was not listening,” O’Kelly said. “And all of my professional accolades — all my professional bonafides — went out the window because as far as he was concerned he was talking and arguing with a ‘negro.’”
This is not the first time that Stone has used the slur. In 2016, while serving as an adviser on Trump’s campaign, Stone was banned from appearing on CNN and MSNBC after tweets surfaced of him calling political commentators ethnic and misogynistic slurs.
“I would have to admit that calling Roland Martin a ‘fat negro’ was a two-martini tweet, and I regret that,” Stone said in an interview with WBUR at the time.
On July 10, four days before Stone was due to surrender to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Trump commuted Stone’s sentence after he had been found guilty by a jury of lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Wikileaks published emails obtained by Russian hackers from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the run up to the 2016 US presidential election.
“Roger Stone is a victim of the Russia Hoax that the Left and its allies in the media perpetuated for years in an attempt to undermine the Trump Presidency,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement at the time of Stone’s commutation.