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Strange letter claims paper inciting “manufactured racism”

By April 30, 2023May 12th, 2023No Comments

Multiple residents of an East Idabel neighborhood received strange letters in the mail this week, which claimed this newspaper is “inciting people to push manufactured racism.”

The residents who received the letter live in the same neighborhood as Gazette publisher Bruce Willingham.

The letter showed pictures of Willingham’s home, listed his address and said he is a felon and has committed entrapment, citing the same state statute regarding recording conversations that Sheriff Kevin Clardy referred to in a April 17 sheriff’s department press release.

The letter says Willingham is ‘suspiciously good friends’ with a judge who lives nearby, whom the letter names.

The letter says Clardy, Alicia Manning and Larry Hendrix have been wrongfully accused and threatened “due to crooked media that has taken over our judicial system.”

“There is nothing worse than a racist who purposely spreads false allegations of racism to spark public outrage and protests,” the first sentence in the four-page letter reads.

It compares Willingham to Oklahoma City news anchor Kevin Ogle, who it says deliberately suppressed racism and committed voter fraud.

On Thursday and Friday several residents who received the letter turned it over to Idabel police, who made a report and turned the investigation over to the OSBI.

Anyone who has received a letter is asked to bring it to Idabel police. OSBI requested that the letter be unopened, if possible.