White TV Anchors Throw Banana At Black Basketball Player

by : Emily Brown on : 19 Aug 2020 13:00

WBRC Fox6 News has issued an apology after two White TV presenters threw tangerines and a banana at Black basketball player Maxwell Pearce on live TV.

The incident took place in January, when Pearce appeared as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters on Good Day Alabama for WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama.

Pearce decided to speak out about the incident on Sunday, August 16, explaining he had been debating whether to tell the story for the past few months but ultimately decided he wanted to share his experience.


See the basketball player discuss the incident below:

During the interview with WBRC, Pearce appeared alongside a news anchor and a weatherperson as he demonstrated some of his team’s basketball tricks. The weatherperson looked about to throw the basketball to Pearce, but instead threw a tangerine.

In the following moments, another tangerine was thrown towards Pearce, followed by a banana.


Commenting on the incident, Pearce said:

This carries deep racial undertones that date back to the early 1900s, when Black people were held on display in human zoos.

This is symbolic of the daily microaggressions that Black people deal with, and I’m not going to be silent about it any more.

Pearce went on to say that he thought he’d made amends with the news station when he was invited on to conduct an interview, but when it aired he realised Fox had omitted all the historical information he’d offered as to why the act of throwing a banana at him was so offensive.


After Pearce shared the video, WBRC’s news director, Shannon Isbell, told AL.com the station had been in discussion with him since the incident and had offered an apology.

She commented:

WBRC Fox6 would like to take this opportunity to again extend a heartfelt and sincere apology to Globetrotter Max Pearce.

An on-air segment promoting a Globetrotters event with Mr. Pearce months ago was intended to be lighthearted. However, it became something deeply hurtful to our guest as the result of our lack of understanding.

We are grateful for the several enlightening, educational conversations we have had with Max over the last two months.

Anchors throw banana at Maxwell PearceAnchors throw banana at Maxwell PearceMaxwell Pearce/Instagram

The basketball player told CNN that although the station issued an apology, he has not heard or received a direct apology from the two anchors involved, adding, ‘At this point it’s not going to be sincere to me.’

On August 14, Pearce appeared on the station as part of a conversation about race, where he discussed the January incident. During the segment, Isbell said the two anchors did not know the ‘historical implications of that action’.

Pearce said he didn’t know whether the two anchors involved were aware of the racial context involved in throwing a banana at a Black person, but he argued it is unacceptable for someone who works in the media and who lives close to the birth of the civil rights movement to be unaware of the history.


If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Alabama, Birmingham, Black Lives Matter, Harlem Globetrotters, Maxwell Pearce, Now, Racism, WBRC Fox6 News


Maxwell Pearce/Instagram and 2 others
  1. Maxwell Pearce/Instagram


  2. CNN

    Harlem Globetrotter speaks out after banana thrown at him on live TV by news broadcasters

  3. AL.com

    Harlem Globetrotter hit with fruit by Alabama TV anchors; station issues apology