Illinois NAACP president under fire for calling migrants 'savages' during Zoom meeting

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Illinois NAACP pres. under fire for calling migrants 'savages'
Illinois NAACP President Teresa Haley is under fire for calling Chicago migrants "savages" during a Zoom meeting.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The president of the Illinois NAACP is coming under fire on Tuesday for disparaging comments she made about migrants.

In video provided to ABC7, Teresa Haley calls them savages. She is denying it, but is now facing a call for her resignation.

In a recent Zoom call meeting with NAACP leaders from around the state, Haley answered a question from a participant.

That's when she began talking about all the migrants coming to Chicago, saying how they are living on the streets, and that Black people have been in similar predicaments for a long time, and no one cares.

"But, these immigrants have come over here, they've been raping people, they've been breaking into homes. They're like savages as well. They don't speak the language, and they look at us like we were crazy," Haley said.

Gov. JB Pritzker denounced those comments on Tuesday.

"Reprehensible remarks, I would hope that she would apologize for the remarks. I also think that people should recognize that immigrants to this country are all around us," Pritzker said.

Haley, reached by phone while on vacation in Dubai, denied making the comments, and when confronted about them being on video, suggested it was fake, saying, "with AI, anything is possible."

Patrick Watson, who, until recently, was president of the DuPage County branch of the NAACP, said he resigned over those comments and other issues with Haley.

"I think she should absolutely resign. I think she's unfit to be the president, the state president of the NAACP, someone that has that kind of sentiment and that kind of thought against migrant communities," Watson said.

But, the new branch president, Michael Childress, said Haley suspended Watson after a run-in earlier this year, and that Watson resigned after a vote of no confidence from local branch leaders.

Childress also claims Haley's comments were taken out of context.

"These comments are not indicative of what the NAACP stands for. But again, I'm not going to speak on behalf of Teresa Haley and say she should or shouldn't resign or things like that," Childress said.

The DuPage branch president said despite this controversy, Haley has a solid record of positive work for the NAACP, and he stands fully behind her.