Emergency Manager Apologizes For Calling Detroiters 'Dumb' And 'Lazy'

Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder's hand-selected emergency manager Kevyn Orr says he “was being dumb” when he criticized Detroiters for being "dumb" and "lazy" as the city sank fiscally.

Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder's hand-selected emergency manager Kevyn Orr says he “was being dumb” when he criticized Detroiters for being "dumb" and "lazy" as the city sank fiscally.

During an interview earlier this month with the Wall Street Journal, Orr said then that, “For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich … Detroit has been the center of more change in the 20th century than I dare say virtually any other city, but that wealth allowed us to have a covenant if you had an eighth grade education, you’ll get 30 years of a good job and a pension and great health care, but you don’t have to worry about what’s going to come.”

On Wednesday, he backtracked.

“I would say — very clearly to the people of Detroit — I apologize,” Orr said. “That was a slip of the tongue,” he explained, saying he never thought his words would be taken as an insult."Who knew Detroiters read the Wall Street Journal? I was being dumb. I’ve since come to realize it’s a distraction.”

Shortly after Orr's comments were published by the Wall Street Journal, critics called on Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to fire the city's emergency manager.

More than a dozen retirees went to city hall demanding an apology from Orr. They called his comments, "Ignorant," "slanderous" and said Detroit's municipal retirees were being treated as "scapegoats."


Detroit retirees protest EM Kevyn Orr's 'dumb, lazy' comments: Detroit pensioners gather Monday Aug. 5, 2013 to protest comments Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr recently made about the city.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers said Orr’s comments were unacceptable, regardless of who he was referencing.

“Those comments are very clearly unproductive. I urge him not to clarify, but to repudiate his previous statements,” Conyers said in a statement. “Further, I encourage him to learn from this mistake by learning from Detroiters, who will live and die by the consequences of his decisions long after he has left.”

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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