Sharpton Chronicles


It got really hot last week on Hot 97, the popular hip-hop station, when a caller identifying herself as Samantha came on “to get funky with Reverend Al.” Claiming that she worked at Sharpton’s National Action Network for seven years, Samantha said he’d “brought his jump-off down to NAN headquarters on a continuing basis”—a reference to Marjorie Harris—and praised the Voice for “outing him.”

Saying she was “glad” the Voice exposed the Rev for being a “philanderer” and a “hypocrite,” Samantha said: “How could you out another leader [Jesse Jackson] and then you got dirt too? You took her from her husband.” All the money, she said, that “was going to support you and her habits” could have been used for “outreach in the community.”

Sharpton called the show, insisting, “I fired you because you didn’t do your work.” But Samantha stayed on message, contending that the Harris affair was going on for four years and that Harris was “the least present person in the office.” The Rev shrieked: “All comers come on, because I’m ready to deal with you.”

In an appearance on WWRL, Sharpton vacillated between denying the Harris relationship and conceding it, saying, “I’ve never heard of an extramarital affair when you’re no longer married.” But his attempt to conflate four years into the present tense didn’t work, with one host noting: “You’re a reverend, sir.”

Research assistance: Eric Cantor, Deborah S. Esquenazi, and Daniel Ten Kate