Two years after Anchorage TV reporter Charlo Greene became temporarily famous for saying, “F— it; I quit” live, on-air before walking out of a KTVA newscast, The Guardian is reiterating that it was all an accident.
“Charlo Greene did not plan to curse on live television,” Sam Levin reported on the website Wednesday. He went on to quote Greene saying “‘I just spoke from my heart for the first time’…the infamous ‘f— it’ line was unplanned.”
Warning: The “f— it” line is spelled out below the jump.
The story paints Greene as another lost victim in the country’s long-running war on drugs.
“While reporters across the globe rushed to interview the activist after her comical on-air resignation,” Levin writes, “the Anchorage woman has struggled to get people to pay attention to her prosecution. Advocates say the charges against Greene, who is black, are particularly alarming given the government’s history of disproportionately targeting people of color for minor marijuana offenses with tough-on-crime policies that fueled mass incarceration.”
Greene is, however, far from your standard victim of the drug war. She’s a one-time journalist turned marijuana activist who aggressively sought the spotlight with a planned and dramatic flame out on live television.
“All of it was planned out, talked about, except for the ‘bleep’ it,” she told ABC’s 20/20 in March 2015. In the same interview, she strongly denied lying to her boss about the secret cannabis business she’d been running.
Anchorage’s Alaska Dispatch News was the first media organization to post You Tube video of the now semi-famous F-bomb incident. The video quickly went viral.
“Greene had reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during Sunday night’s broadcast, without revealing her connection to it,” the News said at the time.“At the end of the report, during a live shot, she announced that she was the club’s owner and would be quitting.
“‘Now everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska,’ she said. ‘And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but, fuck it, I quit.'”
The newspaper had been aware of Greene’s connection to the Cannabis Club for weeks, though it kept that information secret.
On the night Greene quit, she called a Dispatch reporter to provide a tip that she was about to make news. Later that same evening, Greene indicated that she had wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.
“Asked why she quit in such a dramatic way,” the newspaper reported, “she said, ‘because I wanted to draw attention to this issue. And the issue is medical marijuana. Ballot Measure 2 is a way to make medical marijuana real … most patients didn’t know the state didn’t set up the framework to get patients their medicine.
“‘If I offended anyone, I apologize, but I’m not sorry for the choice that I made.'”
The claim that the F-bomb went off accidentally came later. Greene has since stuck to that story while using “fuck it; I quit” as a marketing slogan.
“When I said, ‘fuck it, I quit,’ I joined in on the (marijuana) fight there and across the nation,” she told the Huffington Post. A YouTube promotion for the Alaska Cannabis Club featuring Greene bills her as “Charlo Greene ‘FUCK IT I QUIT’.”
The Guardian story has to be considered a coup for Greene, real name Charlene Egbe.
The story ignores the ethical issue of a reporter purporting to be objectively covering her own secret business and paints Greene as a key figure in the national debate about the legalization of marijuana.
“The 28-year-old’s case – which she has called a ‘modern day lynching’ – has raised a number of questions about the ongoing war on drugs and could have broader law enforcement implications as more US states move to legalize cannabis and regulate it like alcohol,” Levin writes.
Greene was one of three cannabis business owners charged with illegal drug sales in September of last year, as her old employer reported. The state was at the time still writing regulations to govern the marijuana business, and Greene had been among those leading the charge to challenge the bureaucratic delays.
After police searched her business, she started a GoFundMe.com fundraiser and claimed “the officer had his hand on the trigger, as I, a law-abiding citizen stared down the receiving end of an assault rifle my tax dollars paid for.” The report that Anchorage Police pointed a loaded firearm at Greene is unconfirmed.
Greene ended the GoFundMe pitch with this:
“We, as cannabis users, want freedom by any means necessary.
“We aren’t sitting around and waiting for THEM to give it back.
“We want freedom by any means necessary, and FUCK IT, we’re taking it, NOW.”
The account opened in March 2015. As of Wednesday, she had raised $665.