Posted on January 21, 2005

Metro Worker Forwards Anti-Muslim E-Mail

Brad Schrade, Tennesseean (Nashville), January 21, 2005

This is a cautionary tale for anyone forwarding chain e-mails. Remember, that message eventually could be traced back to you.

That’s what happened to a Metro employee who could face disciplinary action for forwarding an e-mail that makes derogatory comments about young Muslim men and their alleged ties to crimes and terrorist activities over the past thirty-plus years. The forwarding of the message violated a Metro e-mail policy that prohibits using city e-mail for sending offensive information.

The message is a sarcastic multiple-choice test listing 12 historic incidents, many of them attacks against Americans, including 9/11 and the taking of hostages in Iran and other attacks on U.S. citizens and embassies overseas.

In each case, there are throwaway answers blaming figures such as Scooby Doo and Bugs Bunny, with a letter D answer blaming Muslims.

The chain e-mail was received by Lori Lazo-Bell, an employee of the city’s finance department, and she forwarded it to several people on Jan. 13 using her Metro e-mail account.


Lazo-Bell, an interior designer for the Real Property division, did not return a phone call yesterday seeking comment.

She issued a written apology to Manning and her division supervisor, Ken Maynard, and copied it to Purcell.

Her apology letter said she received the e-mail and forwarded it without paying much attention to its content. The chain e-mail was critical of the nation’s airport screening policies, which caught her eye, she said.

“It has never been my nature to stereotype groups,” her letter said. “I have always and will always relate to others as another human being without regard to age, color, economic status or nationality.”

She closed the letter by saying: “Please know I love my job with Metro and I love the diversity of Nashville and I am truly sorry for putting all of you in the position you are now in with the media.”