WATCH: In wake of Memphis Magazine caricature controversy, civic and community leaders speak out

Leaders call for diversity in newsroom, boardroom and ownership for Memphis Magazine and other media outlets

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Memphis Magazine caused quite a dustup over the weekend, with a cover image that conjured images of racial stereotypes in its depictions of mayoral candidates Tami Sawyer and Dr. Willie W. Herenton Jr.

The magazine was quickly pulled from shelves, and its publisher has issued multiple statements backtracking the decision. And on Tuesday, several elected and community leaders – all African American men – stood at the entrance to City Hall in a press conference, calling for Memphis Magazine and all media outlets to place a special focus on diversity and inclusion to head off such incendiary artwork in the future.

Among the leaders who spoke: State Rep. G.A. Hardaway; Rev. Dr. Earle Fisher of #UPTheVOTE901; Shelby County Commissioner Mickell Lowery; Memphis City Councilman Martavious Jones and Darrell Cobbins, President of 100 Black Men of Memphis.

“We’ve seen the first response (from Memphis Magazine) as well as the second response and the response from the artist himself,” Hardaway said in opening comments. “And when you combine those three, we find it necessary as black men and respond to the type of action that perpetuates a stereotype, that advances a stereotype that leads to a toxic environment.”

Watch the full press conference here: