‘Fake Southern Preacher’: Videos Show Expelled Tennessee Lawmaker’s Oratorical Transformation
NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 06: Democratic state Rep. Justin Pearson (R) of Memphis shakes hands with a supporter in the House Gallery after being expelled from the state Legislature on April 6, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Pearson and fellow Democratic Reps. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville and Justin Jones of Nashville were brought up for expulsion for leading chants of protesters from the floor in the wake of a mass shooting at a Christian school in which three 9-year-old students and three adults were killed by a 28-year-old former student of the school March 27. Pearson and Jones, who is also Black, were expelled while Johnson, who is white, was not.
(Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images)

Video resurfaced online of expelled Tennessee state Rep. Justin Pearson back in his college days, pitching a moderate brand of politics absent the fiery rhetoric and dramatic, preacher-like delivery the Memphis lawmaker has employed since his ouster from the statehouse. 

Pearson ran for student body president of Bowdoin College, in Maine, back in 2016 on a platform of bringing the “radical middle” together, a far cry from his recent approach of bringing a “subversive” agenda to the Tennessee General Assembly and leading chants with a bullhorn from the state House floor. 

“How can we represent all voices in a conversation? I want to do this by partnering with organizations from the Bowdoin Democrats to the Bowdoin Republicans. I want to bring together different voices, dissenting voices, voices that may be more liberal or more conservative in order that we can reach a point of sort of the radical middle where conversation and dialogue happens and growth happens,” Pearson said in a campaign video. 

He added that tensions could only be addressed by people “understanding” each other. 

Pearson was expelled last week after disrupting a session of the Tennessee House earlier this month by leading gun control protesters in chants from the House floor with a bullhorn. He was expelled by a vote of 69-26 while fellow Democrat Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville) was ousted by a vote of 72-25. 

The former lawmaker likened his expulsion to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, suggesting that he would rise again in a speech leading up to the expulsion vote. On Easter, he preached a sermon at the First Unitarian Church of Memphis.

“We spoke out against the empire of the NRA and the gun lobbyists because we demanded an end to gun violence,” Pearson told the unitarian universalist congregation. “This has been a Holy Week. This has been a sacred week. The lesson from it is that resurrection is a promised prophecy to a persecuted people.”

Pearson and Jones have both seized the media attention and portrayed themselves as modern-day civil rights activists. During his initial swearing-in, Pearson said that he hoped to pursue an agenda that was “subversive to the status quo,” adding that “white supremacy,” “homophobia,” “misogyny,” and “racism” all needed to be torn down. 

Critics online noticed the stark difference in tone from Pearson, who has pushed for increased gun control in the wake of a shooting at a Christian school in Nashville. 

Amazing how Justin Pearson learned that crazy fake southern preacher accent just a few years after his Brooks Brothers prep school days at Bowdoin: he’s like the Hilaria Baldwin of Al Sharpton clones,” one Twitter user said. 

Pearson could be reappointed to the seat as soon as Wednesday night after a vote from the Shelby County Commissioners.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Fake Southern Preacher’: Videos Show Expelled Tennessee Lawmaker’s Oratorical Transformation