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Harper Lee “would be extremely upset” with Donald Trump rhetoric, “Scout” says

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The actress who portrayed the iconic role of Scout onscreen in Harper Lee‘s classic tale “To Kill A Mockingbird” decried the “inflammatory and divisive” rhetoric of Donald Trump, saying the late Lee would not have approved, either.

“I think she would be extremely upset with some of our politicians who are not being realistic, and who are pulling this country apart,” said Mary Badham, who was 10 when she appeared as “Scout” with Oscar winner Gregory Peck in the 1962 film.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Lee, who passed away this past Friday at 89, became close to Badham in the final years of her life, she told WJCT.

Badham will make a couple of North Florida appearances on Saturday (details below). She speaks regularly across the country about the book and film’s timeless themes of tolerance and compassion in the face of bigotry.

“We’re a country made up of a lot of different kinds of people, and that’s part of what makes us very strong. We have to learn to come together as a country, and not listen to racism and bigotry. It’s sad for me because we’ve come so far, and yet there are still some of us who are stuck in the Dark Ages. And I don’t want to go back there.”

“This is not just a black-and-white, 1930’s race issue. This is global. This is bigotry and racism in all its forms. We have to fight against that continually. The crux of that is education. If we fail to educate our population, then ignorance takes over.

“I’m just hoping the American public will do their homework in this next election, and really pay attention to the ugliness that’s happening in our political situation, and try to go for the high road. We’ve never been in a more dangerous situation than we are right now.

“I’m thinking mostly of Donald Trump. He is so inflammatory and so divisive, he would not be good for this country.”

Badham will appear 10 a.m. Saturday in Balis Park and the San Marco Bookstore, where there will be book signings for “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Lee’s 2015 release of “Go Set A Watchman.” The copies will be signed by both Badham and Harper Lee.

Saturday evening, she’ll host a talk and screening of “Mockingbird” at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Both events are free.

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at

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