Like Childers, John Thrasher was Accused of Racial Insensitivity

Like Childers, John Thrasher was Accused of Racial Insensitivity

Florida State University President John Thrasher, who recently took action against an FSU vendor who was accused of being racially insensitive, faced similar allegations in 2000.

It was revealed last week that Sam Childers, a principal with Childers Construction, was accused of violating “FSU’s core values” when a picture recently surfaced of him dressed up like Bob Marley at a Halloween party in 2015.

After reviewing the incident and receiving a letter of apology from Childers, Thrasher ended any future business relationship with Childers Construction.

Tiger Bay Club

Thrasher faced similar allegations related to racial insensitivities during an appearance at the Tallahassee Tiger Bay Club in 2000. His comments made state-wide news.

Reports indicate that Thrasher – then Florida House Speaker – used a basketball analogy with racial overtones to describe a black state senator’s opposition to ending state-wide affirmative action policies.

Thrasher was supporting then-Governor Bush’s controversial One Florida initiative which was designed to eliminate racial preferences in education and government contracting and base decisions on individual merit.

During his address to Tiger Bay, Thrasher said, ” I truly have believed that white men couldn’t jump. I believed that until I started working around Kendrick Meek.”

The joke – aimed at state Senator Kendrick Meek – fell flat and Meek was not amused. Meek responded by saying, ” I am praying for Mr. Thrasher.”

A former official with the NAACP said the joke was out of line and that Thrasher owed Meek an apology.

Republican Florida Senate President Toni Jennings, who attended the Tiger Bay meeting, said “there wasn’t anything funny about it.”

After chiding the media for reporting the incident as “real news”, Thrasher eventually issued an apology. He stated, “It was never my intention to offend anyone and I regret if any offense was taken.”

Similar Responses

The two incidents occurred years apart in very different political environments. But the responses by Childers and Thrasher to being accused of racial insensitivities were remarkably similar.

Thrasher said he did not intend to offend anyone and regretted his actions.

Childers apologized and said “I deeply regret my actions that have caused hurt and offense to anyone.”

Thrasher said he was attempting a joke at a luncheon that is known for raucous banter.

Childers explained that he dressed up as Bob Marley for a Halloween party, not to make some racial statement.

After the incident, Thrasher finished his term as House Speaker and went on to become a powerful lobbyist, then a member of the Florida Senate and was appointed the President of FSU in 2014.

However, the fate of Sam Childers and Childers Construction is still unfolding.

FSU Comment

Tallahassee Reports reached out to President Thrasher for a comment on his previous experience with being accused of racial insensitivities and if that experience had any impact on his decision-making process in the Childers situation.

An FSU spokesperson responded with the following statement:

“Florida State University expects civil and respectful conduct from everyone who does business with the university. Mr. Childers’ behavior conflicts with the university’s values of inclusivity and respect for all members of the community, and Florida State University is in the process of ending its partnership with Childers Construction. Two existing contracts with the company for projects near completion will be honored.”

The spokesperson also said, “The university has nothing else to add.”

57 Responses to "Like Childers, John Thrasher was Accused of Racial Insensitivity"

  1. Avatar
    Tiredofthiscrap   August 1, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Done with FSU and Thrasher, even with 2 degrees from there and growing up an FSU fan. Campbell Stadium will be next. Turned in my FSU car tag and stopping future support. First time in @ 15 years to have no FSU tag on my vehicle.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      News Maven   August 2, 2020 at 9:14 am

      Even IF football is played this season, instead of being 75% empty Doak will now be 99% empty.
      Thrasher is doing to FSU what Gabordi did to the Fake Newsocrat – destroying it from a seat of power within.

      No money.
      No FSUseless.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Mike Bishop   August 3, 2020 at 6:12 am

      Next will be Bobby Bowden. He called his players boy and said they wear earrings because their moms does. Doak renamed, Seminole name changed, and Bobby’s stayed and name gone. Part of the liberal Marxist Thrasher’s agenda!

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Bobby bouchée   August 1, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Let’s hope thrasher gets the same treatment from the mob he’s been dishing out

    Reply
    • Avatar
      News Maven   August 2, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Does anyone remember Thrasher pretending to do the “Harlem Shuffle” dance in a video for the Capital Corps Press Skits philanthropic fundraiser about 8-9 years ago? Couldn’t that be defined by the current craziness as “cultural misappropriation” even though the entire legislature was in it?
      Well, they must all have been racists! And the press too for showing it!

      Reply
  3. Avatar
    John   August 1, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    If you are disgusted with FSU you could support UF with it’s illustrious alumnus Rep. Yoho….

    Let’s all continue to do what we can to make sure we keep the DUH in Florida.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Snidely Whiplash   August 1, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Oh darn RINO Thrasher’s beloved leftists are turning on his dum @ss.
    Theres something for you to learn here Johnnie boy.
    Think real hard … no never mind … you will never get it. You were lost beyond redemption years ago.
    Go sit with Francis Epps’ statue in time out Johnnie boy.
    Your beloved leftists never liked you.

    Reply
  5. Avatar
    Willie   August 1, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    Well, I will not renew my 3 FSU tags. I graduated from FSU. My 3 children graduated from FSU. My brother graduated from FSU as well as several nephews. We have all agreed to discontinue all support including boosters, tickets, tags. The FSU is finally showing its real colors. It is a shameful radical left institution of intimidation and brain washing. Just like the former Nazi Germany. They are totally corrupt.

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Alex   August 1, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    Since we have a national theme painted between FAMU and FSU merge the two schools. Name it FAMU State University. FSU no longer in my spending patterns and support. This 1968 grad. can take no more of this.

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Laural Wilson   August 1, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Cancel your season tickets and Booster Contributions … let them hear us loud and clear … many already have … Thrasher you Sir are a hypocrite #StandUp4Sam

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    Dennis Barton   August 2, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Boy, was I wrong. When Thrasher was being considered for president of FSU and the faculty was skeptical of his appointment I wrote a letter to the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat supporting his appointment and urging the faculty to do likewise. If I still subscribed to the Democrat which I do not I would write another letter apologizing to the readers for the really bad advice.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      News Maven   August 2, 2020 at 9:19 am

      If you cancelled your subscription to the Fake Newsocrat, you are smarter than Thrasher. Maybe you should be FSU President!

      Reply
  9. Avatar
    POC   August 2, 2020 at 3:51 am

    Thrasher is the worst type of Rethuglican a complete sellout to cancel culture and his Marxist faculty. Between despicable Demonrats and spineless Rethuglicans, God help us all. Mark my words, this Marxist cancel culture will never stop until FSU is forced to drop the Seminole name and rename themselves and Thrasher will be there to put a spear into it. Coward.

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Edward Lyle   August 2, 2020 at 8:26 am

    I’m a bit confused here. Exactly which “race” did Childers offend when he dressed up for Halloween as an iconic reggae singer who was born in British Jamaica?

    Should we expect another Tallahassee intersection to be painted with the phrase “Jamaican Lives Matter”? And wasn’t “White men can’t jump” a movie that came out of the Cancel Culture Clowns in Hollywood?… like the movie “White Chics”.

    As a “person of color”, these Melanin Maniacs are beginning to really tick me off. Their ignorance is overwhelming. This insanity only goes to prove that the is no systemic racism… only the systemic exploitation of the lie.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Laural Wilson   August 2, 2020 at 10:25 am

      Very well said ….

      Reply
    • Avatar
      NonFSU Fan   August 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm

      I said a similar statement to my husband the other day who is an FSU graduate. Maybe he could have chosen a different artist to dress up as, but Bob Marley was not “black/african american”. Is it possible Mr Thrasher is throwing stones and hiding his hands?

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Cherish Hubbard   August 2, 2020 at 10:35 pm

      Edward, I really think you are missing the point. White people have never been oppressed, beaten, endured looking at signs painted on the door color just to name a few. The most saddening part of this topic is that black people are still going through shit todays where some of the main players are the FSU facility.

      Another thought. Why not teach full history? The good, the bad and the ugly. Then we wouldn’t need a month of Black History. But as long as American history is taught to show that white folks in America did all the work to make America great. There will always be this bad race relation. Your history books are not correct.

      Another thought. Why did white historians choose to just celebrate the most racist of the Klan. There are plenty of white men that did lots of great work in America. I’m just saying.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Edward Lyle   August 4, 2020 at 8:38 am

        Respectfully, Cherish… you’re depth of the history of human oppression is less than replete. Peoples of various levels of melanin have been oppressed for various reasons throughout time. Moreover, the origins of slavery in America was born of a learned trait hailing from the Hutu and Tutsi tribes of Africa, who enslaved each other primarily based on the levels of melanin in their skin. The “white man” of America did not invent slavery, or the act of oppression for that matter. I would agree that history lessons should be more complete.

        You appear to view all human existence through a black versus white lens. In reality, we are ALL people of color. It is only our individualism that differentiates us. Bob Marley was neither African nor American. He was British Jamaican… and to exploit his skin tone to appease the current prevailing liberal mob mentality does a true disservice to his “true” heritage and culture.

        As a “person of color”, I find this entire mess insulting. The intentional damage this ignorance is doing to our society as a whole, is reprehensible in my view.

        Reply
  11. Avatar
    Trent   August 2, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Thrasher is a hypocrite and has no back bone, can’t wait for his time to end at FSU!!

    Boosters need to speak with their wallets and not support such a weak president

    Reply
  12. Avatar
    Elizabeth   August 2, 2020 at 8:49 am

    I find it interesting that the woman who raised the concerns about Mr. Childers was the same woman who, on the day after Trump was elected, implored us all in a tdo editorial not to tear each other apart limb to limb.

    Reply
  13. Avatar
    Curious   August 2, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Appropriation: I see a plumber use a wrench & I do the same. As the Cancel Culture Virus spreads keep this in mind. 1/3 of people have no sense of humor. [Scott Adams – Dilbert cartoonist * public speaker] Read the write-ups on the Salem witch trials. Teachers Unions, MSMedia, Democrat-Antifa-BLM are all authoritarian enforcers exacting revenge for the imagined aggrieved. Pathetic.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Curious   August 2, 2020 at 8:55 am

      Halloween honors the dead. “Day of the dead”. But the next day is “All saints day.” Will they be allowed marching in?

      Reply
  14. Avatar
    Pragmatic Rick   August 2, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Sanctimonious hypocrisy is no way to live.

    Reply
  15. Avatar
    Snidely Whiplash   August 2, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Maybe Thrasher should go back in black face with lipstick and a female wig!
    Then beg Joe Biden to anoint him Vice President.
    Go for it Johnnie Boy AKA Joan Thrasher the next VP of The USA…NOT!

    Reply
  16. Avatar
    Bobby bouchée   August 2, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Mr Thrasher is obviously a racist by his own definition (see Mr Childers and Mr Eppes)

    Remember as well him totaling ignoring the FSU student government fight against Christians and turning a blind eye towards anti Semitic comments

    Resign immediately Mr Thrasher before you ruin FSU completely, you have already done enough damage to the institution you allegedly love.

    Reply
  17. Avatar
    Debbie   August 2, 2020 at 10:47 am

    It’s a sad day for FSU- well one again of many. under Thrasher’s rule. He is the WORST president we have had in my lifetime. He is simply proving everyone right, about his lack of leadership, his lack of diplomacy, and his lack of personal strength and character. FSU – Wake up,… you are hurting and you won’t address the point of pain… it’s is the guy behind the President’s desk. What good has he done FSU? Can anyone name anything positive? I can’t – again lifelong resident and 4th generation Tallahassean.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Elizabeth   August 2, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      He has been an OUTSTANDING President. Sadly, there are many of us who believe he erred in judgement with regard to Mr. Childers. . . for dressing up as his hero.

      Reply
  18. Avatar
    Andy   August 2, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Come on, everybody–in the scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter. Get a life.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Laura   August 2, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      It absolutely does matter to the employees of Childers Consruction and the subcontractor who work for them – only another hypocrite would say get a life

      Reply
  19. Avatar
    Cathy Winburn-Allen   August 2, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I’m Done with FSU!

    Reply
  20. Avatar
    Beth Tall   August 2, 2020 at 11:15 am

    What matters is that hundreds of individuals who work for, or with, Childers Construction as employees, subcontractors or suppliers now have their employment or businesses as risk. Through no fault of their own.

    Reply
  21. Avatar
    Arthur Freds   August 2, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Name one thing Thrasher has done as President?
    He’s done a lot for FSU. Under Thrasher’s watch, he’s secured the first $100 million gift in school history, he’s elevated the university to a top 20 public school and raised FSU’s profile to a premier destination of higher learning.
    He made a mistake in how he handled Childers. But let’s not forget all of the good things he has done for our school.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Laura   August 2, 2020 at 12:30 pm

      If he has done so much why are gifts and contributions in total down – why are dpeartment heads worried – nice try – the cancel culture he is instilling isn’t anything to be proud of and is hurting the university period

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Franklin Thompson   August 2, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      And Childer’s Construction Co. deserves the same consideration you just gave Thrasher for what their company has done for FSU and the economy of Tallahassee. Thrasher should reverse his position on Childer’s Construction Co. ASAP.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Pam Richardson   August 2, 2020 at 7:53 pm

        Couldn’t agree more!

        Reply
  22. Avatar
    Concerned Citizen   August 2, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Hey Andy, it matters. I wonder if the German people thought it mattered when Hitler rose to power? Do you think anyone thought maybe I should have said something/ anything?

    Reply
  23. Avatar
    Bob   August 2, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Yes Andy it does to the 100’s of people who may be laid off and would be seeking new jobs. To Mr. Childer’s and his family’s reputation and his standing in the community which he evidently has supported both financially and through charitable work. I know he has make money through his construction work at FSU, but I sure FSU got more than what it paid for.

    Reply
  24. Avatar
    Spencer Wolfe   August 2, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    He will regret these recent pressured decisions that tarnish an otherwise outstanding term as University President.

    Reply
  25. Avatar
    Edward Lyle   August 2, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Just another stunning example of why you should never, eveR, evER, eVER, EVER apologize, take a knee, or bow to the mob insanity. All you do is show them that you are weak, malleable, cowardice, and willingly subservient to their warped ways and dangerous ideology.

    It’s bad enough that we have one or more generations of Twidiots and Millidiots to deal with and straighten out… we surely do not need adults to fall apart too.

    May God forgive us our transgressions

    Reply
  26. Avatar
    TG Green   August 2, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Wow, Bradbury was almost prophetic with Fahrenheit 451. Except we’re banning people instead of books and the left are the firemen. Ironically, it would be real easy to stand up to this nonsense if people wouldn’t bow to the pressure.

    Reply
  27. Avatar
    Hurley W Rudd Jr   August 2, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    My My My Mr Thrasher. I am sure glad that you were forgiven and you saw the inequities of your mistake. I’m so glad that you have continued your ability to continue to move up in leadership positions and that the comment you made didn’t cause you to have to go back to St Augustine. Not so lucky for Sam Childers in today’s world. Not only do you remove him from the vendor list at FSU but you have probably jeopardized his chances at other places where he would be able to have a chance to acquire jobs.John we have all done things we regret. I am sure glad you were forgiven. As a famous and former FSU Football Coach would say . Dadgum John what were you thinking.

    Reply
  28. Avatar
    James   August 2, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    A few years ago, FSU had a campus-wide referendum on whether to remove the Eppes statue from the Wescott plaza; vote was 71.7% “NO”. I just wanted to put that out there.

    Reply
  29. Avatar
    Bill Childers (not related)   August 2, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    This is so stupid and it keeps happening. I distinguish between blackface which is about racial caricature and stereotypes and makeup that makes you look like a specific person or character. It’s stupid to conflate the two. Only one – the first – is racist and insulting. Also, what Sam did is not as bad as what Thrasher did and in fact, it isn’t bad at all. If a Black person dressed up as George Washington or Charles Manson for Halloween I don’t think anybody would be offended. Neither did anything like what the segregationist Doak Campbell did. People need to grow up. Sometimes your sensitivities are your problem, not mine. This is from a Democrat on the opposite side of many of the partisans who posted here.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      News Maven   August 2, 2020 at 8:55 pm

      The most popular musical of the last decade used non-white actors to play our white Founding Fathers.
      The musical?
      Hamilton.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Kaitlyn   August 6, 2020 at 5:14 pm

        Well well we’ll Mr. Thrasher, you can’t even respond to emails, calls, or texts. Now look what you have done. And by the way FSU has lost $10 million dollars in boosters, season tickets, donation, etc. since the story of Sam Childers hit the Tallahassee Democrat.

        Reply
  30. Avatar
    Snidely Whiplash   August 2, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    I’m gonna kick Thrasher one more time then I’m out.
    Thrasher: The worst type of RINO on the planet.
    Not only Never Trumper but even more unforgivable a JEBBIE.
    Review for a moment Low Energy JEB Bush’s weak lame @ss attempt at the 2016 Presidency … Jebbie had the most money the political pundits all put Jebbie miles ahead of Trump … and Low Energy Jebbie had to run home crying in National Disgrace.
    Johnnie Boy just get out of public life while you still can with a smidgen of respect for your family.
    Johnnie Boy I am expecting your letter of resignation on my desk at 8:00 AM this Monday Morning!
    TOMORROW.

    Reply
  31. Avatar
    Publius   August 2, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    What should be asked is why is the Students for a Democratic Society now running things at FSU? They caused so much anarchy back in the sixties and we know how that screwed up American society

    Reply
  32. Avatar
    20/20   August 2, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    In 1975, at the ripe old age of 10, I dressed up as Dr. J (NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving) for Halloween. Why? He was AWESOME, he was my hero! There was no racist intent, just admiration. However, I’m fairly certain my grandmother applied dark powder to my face to complete the look. Lord, I hope that Polaroid doesn’t surface.

    In all seriousness, when did we start letting snowflakes dictate policy to grown adults? This is really a sad, weak, and embarrassing moment for Thrasher.

    Reply
  33. Avatar
    Sylvia Hubbard   August 2, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Well, I don’t care about Childers comment. If we check our own history we too have probably said or did something that might be viewed as offensive to someone or some group. I don’t like FSU and as a black person I am more offended by the comments that I am seeing than a black face Childers or racial insensitivity. I might be wrong. However, to me your comments appear to be really racist.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Edward Lyle   August 4, 2020 at 9:27 am

      Respectfully, Ms. Hubbard… I’ve read through the comments you lament. It appears that you seem to view “disagreement” or simply having a differing opinion as being “racist”. Please elaborate on the analogy. I truly seek to understand.

      Reply
  34. Avatar
    T. Michael Hines   August 3, 2020 at 7:56 am

    I also deeply regret early support for John Thrasher with folks on FSU Board of Trustees. He has proved to be the arrogant egomaniac I was warned of. The damage this “pol” has done to FSU is inestimable and from which the University and its athletic program may never recover. This is what happens when we permit term limited politicians to land in cozy state jobs with benefits and amenities only designed to stimulate their egos and power hungry mindsets. I withdrew my support for the President’s Club, the FSU Foundation, Scholarships, and the Seminole Boosters in 2014 when I fully realized my mistake and the unwillingness of the Board of Trustees to reign him in. I went through the “Radical Sixties” as an undergrad at FSU. Thank God we had serious and brave Presidents at FSU to stand up to radical Marxists like Radical Jack Lieberman and the SDS, I count John Champion and Stan Marshall among the brave. John Thrasher’s contract extension should be revoked immediately by the FSU Board of Trustees.

    Reply
  35. Avatar
    Julia   August 3, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    It is bad enough to turn your campus over to a bunch of ersatz student radicals who will then make it impossible for you to acknowledge anyone who founded the university. But, destroying a man’s reputation, and his business because he went to costume party for his daughter five years ago, and at the insttigation of yet another childish faux radical up in Tennessee, has truly made John Thrasher a danger to the Tallahassee community.

    Reply
  36. Avatar
    Ronald McSantis   August 3, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    So Thrasher gets to basically call a black man an Uncle Tom and then pull this with Childers?

    Petition to Fire John Thrasher here

    https://www.change.org/p/the-citizens-to-tallahassee-fire-john-thrasher

    Reply
  37. Avatar
    Mike Bishop   August 3, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I wonder if Present Thrasher would approve of me wearing my Frankenstein Costume Halloween ? Maybe I would not offend to many monsters out there. I am afraid Thrashers lack of leadership will cost the University millions in future donations. By the way Mr. President when will you take a pay cut to save the University some money?

    Reply
  38. Avatar
    Paul   August 3, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Despite being a FSU grad (’86), I’ve been done with them for years. If reasonable, rational people were aware of all the ‘centers’ that exist within various colleges at FSU, whose purposes are to promote some the most nonsensical Leftist causes and ideas you could imagine, you’d never give FSU a dime of your hard-earned money (beyond that which is extracted from you via taxes). Even a good football team won’t overcome that in my mind. Both of my kids are attending conservative private colleges.

    Reply
  39. Avatar
    Chuck   August 3, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Sad day for FSU. Sam and his family have supported this University for years. Let the witch-hunts begin.

    Reply
  40. Avatar
    Anhaica   August 4, 2020 at 9:12 am

    I dropped my FSU tag years ago when I saw how much money the school was (and is) bringing in. To my fellow FSU alumni, stop supporting FSU! It is not the university we grew up loving to support and cheer for.

    Reply

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