Omaha woman wants people to know she is not racist comment writer "Kathy Rae"

Omaha woman wants people to know she is not racist comment writer "Kathy Rae"

Longtime photographer Kathy Byers, whose business is called "Kathy Rae Photography," just got pulled into something very ugly.

"I was scared," said Byers. "I was like what was going on."

She says people from all over the country pinned her as the "Kathy Rae" in Georgia, who sent a racially charged comment to Atlanta TV news anchor Sharon Reed.

Reed took that Kathy Rae to task during one of the station's newscasts, and later discouraged people from harassing anyone on social media.

Soon after that, however, Byers got her first taste of the mistaken identity.

"I got a notification on my Kathy Rae business page, a message, a really strange message that said 'I bet you feel stupid now.'"

She thought it was spam, but then she got a phone call, and it even got worse from there with hateful messages online.

Then an "Allison," believed to be from Pennsylvania, posted on Facebook saying "this is the racist woman who sent the email to Sharon Reed," linking Byers' business in the post.

"It also had a photo of my client," said Byers.

We messaged Allison about this on Facebook. We did not get a response.

The whole situation has left Byers speechless.

"I don't want people thinking I'm a racist," she said. "I love all people."

We also reached out to CBS46 in Atlanta about Byers' situation.

The station's news director Steve Doerr said in an email addressed to Kathy:

Thanks for the email. It’s disheartening to hear that you and your client are the subject of misguided social media “vigilantes” who have no idea who or what they’re talking about. We’ve heard from a lot of people with some variation of “Kathy Rae” social media handles who have similar stories. There isn’t much we can do to influence people who saw the story after it went viral outside of Atlanta. The day after the original story aired, Sharon Reed followed up by urging people not to harass anyone, including the original email writer, but that’s about as far as our influence extends. We did a local story on a local newscast so ultimately our reach doesn’t go beyond what we can do on-air here.

"I just want people to know that the lady in Omaha is not the 'Kathy Rae,'" said Byers.

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