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Racist rant haunts actress Video berating mailman goes viral on Youtube

Racist rant haunts actress
Video berating mailman goes viral on Youtube
By Jessica Heslam and Dave Wedge  |   Saturday, November 13, 2010  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

A postal worker delivers mail to Erika Winchester at her home in Hingham yesterday.
Photo by John Wilcox

A Hingham actress with a history of legal scrapes was holed up in her home last night under police watch after her shocking racist rant on a black postman was caught on camera and became an Internet sensation.

Erika Winchester, a 60-year-old off-Broadway songbird, has been besieged with harassing phone calls, according to police, and cyber threats since the video went viral.

“Because of the attention that this has gotten in the media, we feel she needs to have protection over there right now,” said Hingham police Lt. Michael Peraino.

The video, shot from inside the mail truck of former postman Jean Hugson, shows Winchester angrily demanding he take back a certified letter in a profanity-laced, racist tirade. She repeatedly calls him the n-word and says blacks “turn on each other” and “killed Martin Luther King.”

U.S. Postal Services spokeswoman Christine Dugas said Hugson worked for the Postal Service from February 2009 until November 2009. She said his termination had “absolutely nothing to do with that video.”

Dugas called the video “disturbing” and said it was investigated by the Postal Service with local police, who filed charges that were later dismissed.

The incident unfolded in October 2009 when Hugson told cops Winchester hit him when he refused to take back the letter.

“She slapped him in the face,” Peraino said.

Hugson told police he didn’t want to press charges, but cops filed a complaint at Hingham District Court seeking to charge Winchester with assault and a hate crime after viewing the video.

On Nov. 24, 2009, a clerk magistrate decided to toss the case if Winchester behaved for a year.

Winchester’s attorney, Robert Jubinville, said the clerk made the decision after Hugson refused to testify, citing concerns for the woman. Winchester was ordered to write a letter of apology to Hugson, which she did, Jubinville said.

Winchester is a former stage actress who performed in off-Broadway plays and had a bit part in the 1975 Robert Redford movie “Three Days of the Condor,” Jubinville said. An acting coach who also goes by the screen name Erika Fox-Winchester, she appeared in the 1977 bootlegger flick “Hooch” and NyQuil commercials, he added.

Hugson couldn’t be reached. Winchester wouldn’t talk to reporters.

The two-part video was originally posted to YouTube last month apparently by Hugson and had racked up nearly 200,000 hits by last night after it was posted to national blogs.

Winchester has been in trouble before, including at a 2007 “Cabaret” fund-raiser during which she threatened to mow down “anyone who wronged her” with a machine gun, according to court records.

She also told the arresting officer she was going to “chop off” his genitals, court records show. Disorderly conduct and other charges were later dismissed.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1295971


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