Gay Slurs | News | Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan: The F-Word is the Only Weapon I Have

Author Terry McMillan, whose latest salvo in an ongoing battle with her gay former husband Jonathan Plummer is a $40 million lawsuit which claims Plummer and his attorneys "conspired and formed a plan to threaten to humiliate and embarrass Terry McMillan, and violate her privacy and place her in harm's way, and threatened to damage her professional and personal standing in an attempt to extort monies from her," tells New York magazine's Intelligencer that folks should see where she's coming from, and know why she uses certain derogatory language. Plummer has claimed that McMillan referred to him as "little fag, common fucking criminal, and a common extortionist."

Mcmillan_plummerMcMillan: "I'm really getting tired of the fact that people get upset that I use the F-word to refer to Jonathan. It was the only weapon that I have. It offends me that gay men think they are above criticism. If you criticize them, you're automatically a homophobe; I'm starting to think they're heterophobes. I still see betrayal as betrayal. I don't care how long he's been in the closet; I didn't put him in there."

McMillan recently contributed an essay called "100 Questions I Meant to Ask Him" in a new anthology called The Honeymoon's Over which she claims wasn't meant for publication.

In the essay, which somehow actually did get published, McMillan asks, among other things, "Have you been surprised by the promiscuous behavior of a lot of gay men? Are you going to be like this or are you already?"

Terry McMillan Reminds You That Her Ex-Husband Is the One Harming Her Reputation [intelligencer]

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  1. So if I called Terry a n----r she wouldn't care? She (and everyone else) wouldn't think I was a racist? Right...

    Posted by: Martin | Apr 2, 2007 10:53:53 AM

  2. She is so bitter. She needs to move on and get a life. If she wants to use the word F*ggot and thinks that is OK then she better not get upset if anyone calls her the N word.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Apr 2, 2007 10:58:15 AM

  3. I think I speak for all gay men when I say that I am not "above criticism," but I'm not open to being called a fag. Why is McMillan equating name-calling with criticism? Surely she can tell the difference between being told that perhaps she's being too bitter about the past and being called a worthless, shitty nigger...

    Posted by: Charlie | Apr 2, 2007 11:13:07 AM

  4. I think it's fair for a woman who gets duped into marrying a gay guy, who later demand spousal support, to call him "little fag, common fucking criminal, and a common extortionist" out of anger every once in a while.

    He was a dishonest parasite, and if she has to call him a name every once in a while to deal with her bitterness and anger, I say go for it. It's wrong, but she's earned the right. I'd call him a snivelling little tore-up bitch myself, but that's me.

    Posted by: SGR | Apr 2, 2007 11:14:58 AM

  5. Can we please not get started with this "If somebody called her a nigger, she wouldn't like it" crap. Yes we all know she wouldn't like it! OK? Commentors on here always start that sh*t and then 100 posts later, it's become a race war. ENOUGH!
    How about more insightful criticism, like how is it that as a "writer" she can only think of a slur to use as a weapon? Wouldn't a true writer be able to do damage without uttering a single slur? Or how she has been milking this for all it's worth? Or even if anybody here has even HEARD of Terry McMillan or read any of her books or CARES what she says.
    ANYTHING but that same old racist crap!

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Apr 2, 2007 11:22:06 AM

  6. And by the way, when are gays going to stop being hypocrites by calling each OTHER faggots and getting mad at heteros for doing the same thing?

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Apr 2, 2007 11:25:25 AM

  7. While I don't condone using the "f word," I definitely don't blame her either. Using that word is small potatoes compared to what he ostensibly did. He lied and cheated on her, which is a heinous and selfish thing to do. She should be angry, she should be upset. Adultery is wrong and hateful, and I have not heard her ex-husband say he is repentant for his actions. He is using the gay community as a shroud to distract from his atrocious behavior.

    Posted by: Javier | Apr 2, 2007 11:28:50 AM

  8. Soulbrotha's right to a point. There's no excuse for McMillan to use an ad hominem attack when it would be so easy to focus on the fact that this asshole lied to her in the most calculating way. It's especially rich to hear an author say "this was my only weapon". Bullshit. This guy didn't have two dimes to rub together before he met her... her weapon of choice should be the gajillion dollars she made after writing those 2 or 3 schlocky (but wildly successful) books. Please, honey... cry me a river... as if she's the only woman who ever married a gay man.

    He's also right about the comparison with other, racially-based slurs. We all know she wouldn't like it, and we all know she's being hypocritical. That argument is obvious and doesn't really need to be beaten to death again.

    But one thing that is interesting his his comment that it's hypocritical for gays to feel okay calling each other "fags" and then get upset when straights do it. I don't think that's necessarily true. My sister calls me a fag sometimes (in jest only), but I know what her motivation is and I know there's no animosity behind it. Same thing happens when black people (men usually) refer to each other in a similar way. I think that any thoughtful person can tell the difference between a word spoken in cameraderie and jest, and a word spoken with hateful or prejudicial intent. The question then becomes whether we (black and/or gay people) should use these words at all... and I don't know if anyone has the right answer to that question. Reasonable arguments could be made to support both positions.

    Posted by: Brian | Apr 2, 2007 11:41:49 AM

  9. I disagree with anyone supporting her for using the word, let alone her warped equating of a slur with criticism. I think the guy was a complete jerk and totally in the wrong. I don't think highly of men who know they're gay but marry a woman for whatever the reason. (Not including men who are confused and come to realize their true identities later on.) I would not blame her for being angry and suing him and whatever else she needs to do or say. But using a slur just destroys her sympathy and her credibility. I saw two women fighting over a seat at the movies and the white woman was in the right but resorted to, "You black bitch." It no longer mattered that she was right about who should have the seat, it just showed what an ignoramus she was and who cares if she gets the seat she deserves? That's how I feel about Terry. She's exposing how her mind works and it's very obvious she's homophobic, whether or not she's got the moral highground with Mr. Leech.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Apr 2, 2007 11:41:53 AM

  10. Soulbrotha -

    are you equally as critical of black guys who call each other nigger as an attempt to take back the word so that it is harder for it to be used as a way to take away power?

    Posted by: nycredneck | Apr 2, 2007 11:42:32 AM

  11. Ok, to really address this, you must accept that the slur refers, not to the individual but to an entire community of people of a certain persuassion. So as not to be guilty of starting a race war here, I will refrain from making the correlation with her skin color.

    Let's say her ex was handicapped. If she launched into a tirade of slurs that are often used to malign physically challenged people, then all people of that orientation would have the right to be offended.

    If she simply stuck to "cheater, liar, extortionist," or even "slimeball", her insults would be directed at her ex as an individual. When you resort to names that malign an entire race of people, it's just plain wrong.

    I think she's using her outrage to justify and perhaps validate her own prejudice against gays.

    She didn't build her ex husband's closet, but through her attitudes and language, she certainly contributes to why so many men remain in that closet.

    Posted by: mark m | Apr 2, 2007 11:46:59 AM

  12. How do you all know he KNEW he was gay and was using her? How do you all know he WASN'T one of the confused ones who came to realize his true identity later on?

    Wasn't he virtually a teenager living in homophobic Jamaica when she moved him to the US? How many teenagers can be out and proud in Jamaica?

    Posted by: jeffnyc | Apr 2, 2007 11:50:28 AM

  13. Look, we're all (hopefully) intelligent people on this site. Surely we are above being reduced to using racial slurs to make a point?
    Javier you do have a point about Mr P's seeming reluctance to accept responsibility for his actions in thier relationship. However Ms Mcmillian is starting to sound like a broken record...airing her grievance on Oprah with Jonathan at her side should have brought some closure, by now.

    Posted by: moi | Apr 2, 2007 11:50:37 AM

  14. I understand she's bitter, but perhaps she needs to become a bit more literate and expand her vocabulary. Then she could avoid maligning an entire community instead of the individual that wronged her.

    It might even improve her writing. Obviously it's giving her life experience and material to write about.

    Posted by: karashi | Apr 2, 2007 11:55:12 AM

  15. If gays refuse to stop calling each other "fag" (even jokingly), then we don't have the right to be upset when someone else refers to us that way. It's the same with blacks: the word "nigger" is never going to go away, as long as high profile role models like Kanye West use the word in the chorus to a #1 song that every kid in this country (and the world) is singing along with.

    Posted by: Charlie | Apr 2, 2007 11:59:42 AM

  16. This is funny. An author, who is supposed to have a gift with words (full confession: never read anything written by her)says the only word she has at her disposal is a slur. And by the way, don't get on my case for using it. Riiiiiiiight. Funny stuff. Maybe she should make her next book a comedy?

    Posted by: James | Apr 2, 2007 12:02:16 PM


    Hell yeah! Especially since the history of the word nigger has so much pain attached to it.

    In my view, if everybody can't use a word freely, then it should not be a part of free speech, regardless of intent.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Apr 2, 2007 12:05:11 PM

  18. As a writer, she should have more at her disposal than playground taunts, but if she doesn't, here is a list of perfectly decent hateful names she can use to describe her evil ex:

    Queer, Poof, Fairy, Bender, Uphill Gardener, Fudge Packer, Knob Jockey, Chutney Ferret, Nancy, Pansy, Arse Bandit...

    She has a right to be bitter, but as a writer she has no right being unimaginative. She won't get any new readers that way. Writing a haiku might help her through her pain a lot more than name-calling will.

    Posted by: Ren B. | Apr 2, 2007 12:26:40 PM

  19. Being called a "f-g" is criticism? Of course he is not above criticism, what he did was wrong and you have every right to be angry at him. But you do not call someone a homophobic epithet as "criticism"....

    Her true colors have sure come out...

    Posted by: Chris | Apr 2, 2007 12:29:52 PM

  20. It's funny, when Andy ran the Isiaih Washington blooper (and in his case that's what it was. I mean, he's practically apologized his damn boxers off), I was one of the first posters to draw the parallel between being called "faggot" to being called "nigger." For that I got patted on the head by some white posters. Then I realized that many of those posters would be calling me "nigger" even if they never heard a black person ever use the word "faggot." It was most distressing being the spokesman for this blogs' Klan faction. I felt like Condi Rice (or Alberto Gonzales) oughta' feel. But I still believe that both slurs are incredibly damaging to the victim.
    Ms. McMillan is an eccentric woman who writes popular fiction. She also has a little street-talkin' side to her. She should know that using the word "faggot" insults a whole community.

    In that picture, they both look kinda' crazy or drugged. Oh, did I finally spell "Isiaih" correctly?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 2, 2007 12:33:13 PM

  21. I rather like "Chutney Ferret". I believe that's what I'll be naming my first child.

    I see all these comments that start off "as a writer...", she should be able to find something better to say. Maybe that's the point, though. As a writer, she knows exactly what power words can have, and so she's chosen to use that particular one.

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 2, 2007 12:33:31 PM

  22. Mark M, JeffNYC, and James said everything I was going to say.

    Posted by: Jack! | Apr 2, 2007 12:34:15 PM

  23. There is a difference between 'criticism' and hate speech.

    Oh, and 'chutney ferret' made me chuckle...

    Posted by: David | Apr 2, 2007 12:38:19 PM

  24. She forfitted any chance there was to make any positive come out of this negative situation a long time ago. Stella just wants her 15 minutes back.

    Posted by: carlo | Apr 2, 2007 12:49:49 PM

  25. Chutney get in the house! It's time for dinner!

    Posted by: James | Apr 2, 2007 12:50:26 PM

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