Politics

Alabama Newspaper Exec Says He Spanked A Reporter On Doctor’s Orders

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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An 82-year-old Alabama newspaper executive admitted Tuesday to spanking a female reporter decades ago, blaming the assault on following doctor’s advice.

The current chairman and former publisher of the Anniston Star newspaper, H. Brandt Ayers, said Tuesday that he spanked a former female employee in her home in the mid 1970s. The woman — now deceased — was psychologically ill, Ayers says and a doctor told him to “calm her down.”

The 82-year-old executive claims the doctor told him spanking her would work to calm her.

Ayers has a history of spanking employees, once spanking a 22-year-old female reporter in the Star newsroom in 1975, 18 times with a ruler.

The woman, Veronica Pike Kennedy, recalls Ayers asking her to read an article he had written before he whacked her repeatedly with a ruler.

Kennedy jokingly asked Ayers who wrote the article, to which he replied: “Oh, you are being a bad girl. You know what I do to bad girls? I spank them.”

A number of women have come forward with similar stories about Ayers spanking them against their will.

Ayers has tried to explain away the accusations, claiming they were done in his younger years. He does say he wishes he acted better during the period.

“As a very young man with more authority than judgment, I did some things I regret,” Ayers told the Anniston Star. “At my advanced age I wish I could relive those days again, knowing the seriousness of my position and with the accumulated judgment that goes with age.”

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