Media Scene

Man apologizes to WBTV reporter Steve Crump for racial slurs, gets drug treatment

A man who hurled racial slurs at WBTV (Channel 3) reporter Steve Crump in Charleston was ordered Friday to serve seven days of house arrest and enroll in a drug treatment program.

Brian Eybers, 21, also apologized to Crump, an accomplished documentary TV producer who has chronicled civil rights in the South for more than two decades.

“I accept your apology,” said Crump, who was in the courtroom when Eybers’ case was called.

Eybers, who spent 14 days in jail awaiting his court date, was released to the custody of his mother, who lives in Charleston. A hearing was set for Nov. 21 to review his progress.

“I think everybody wants this young man to get some help,” Crump said, “and deal with whatever issues he might have.”

Crump was covering Hurricane Matthew in Charleston on Oct. 8 when Eybers accosted him on Broad Street, directing racial slurs at him and calling him a former slave.

Crump, 59, who is the great-great grandson of slaves from Kentucky’s bourbon belt, walked up to him and said, “What did you just call me?”

Eybers replied that he’d called Crump the N-word and said Crump was inferior because he was black.

WBTV photographer Devin Futrelle filmed the confrontation between the two men. When Crump and Futrelle went to leave, Eybers stood in front of their news van, blocking it from moving.

Police charged Eybers with disorderly conduct and possession of a crack pipe. Futrelle’s video of Crump and Eybers received national media attention.

Crump, who was honored this year in Washington as journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists, said he was satisfied with Eybers’ apology and considers the incident closed. “Harboring that kind of negativity doesn’t do anyone any good,” he said.

Mark Washburn: 704-358-5007, @WashburnChObs