Bill Richardson | Democratic Party | Don Imus | Election 2008 | Gay Slurs | News | Radio

Bill Richardson Apologizes for "Maricón" Moment

Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson, who said this week that in the Spanish that he grew up with, the word maricón "means simply 'gay,' not positive or negative," apologized for his exchange with deposed radio host Don Imus in 2006, saying he used the term playfully.

RichardsonSaid Richardson: "My record is the strongest among the presidential candidates on gay rights issues and I'm puzzled by the timing of this. When it happened a year ago, nobody seemed to think it was terribly important. Now it surfaces. It's probably a sign from other campaigns that they are little worried about me. It was a playful exchange between me and Don Imus that was not intended to demean anybody, but if I offended anybody, I apologize."

Richardson Says Remark Meant Playfully [ap via washington post]

You may have missed...
Bill Richardson's Support for Gays Ignored by Mainstream Media [tr]
Bill Richardson's "Job Interview" Campaign Ads [tr]

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Hmmm. I like a bit of what I've seen of Richardson, but I really don't like this apology - you know, the "if anybody was offended" (read: whoever is so overly sensitive as to been upset by what I said) thing offends me more than the original exchange.

    Maricon is not a neutral word. If anything, the lighter "mariposa" is more neutral. You will not see gay people self-identify as "maricones" except in situations similar to English-speaking gay people calling each other "faggots".

    Richardson is correct in that maricon is just as pervasive as faggot is here, but it by no means makes it an inoffensive word - especially when it's delivered by somebody like a Don Imus or any of his ilk. I might playfully call my friend a "bitch" - just between she and I - but there's no way I'd go on a wide broadcast to speak with a person who is known to be intolerant and provocative and use the word pejoratively.

    I think Richardson needs to try again.

    Posted by: Rey | Jul 13, 2007 10:21:14 AM

  2. I'm reminded of that old joke: What is the definition of a gay gentleman? A f**king faggot who just walked into the room.

    When he needs gay votes and dollars, he touts his (admittedly pretty good) record on gay issues. But, when he's kicking back with the het boys, we're all a bunch of maricones.

    Posted by: sam | Jul 13, 2007 10:32:26 AM

  3. Yeah--when I first read his explanation that maricon "simply" means gay, I thought "Liar."

    Posted by: Tyler | Jul 13, 2007 10:43:55 AM

  4. It's also a little presumptuous to assume anyone is actually worried about him.

    Posted by: David | Jul 13, 2007 10:54:31 AM

  5. You know your campaign is not going well when this is the only type of press coverage you get.

    Posted by: anon ( | Jul 13, 2007 11:24:30 AM

  6. Richard's intitial comment was offensive but his bold face lie that the word was neutral where he grew up is inexcusable.

    I lost a lot of respect for the man with this whole ordeal.

    Just like the Isaiah Washington bruhaha, Richardson's worst offense was not his off the cuff use of a homophobic slur but his response to those who rightly criticized him for it. The lying, the posing, the spinning, the blaming, the deflecting; it's like deja vu all over again.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jul 13, 2007 11:42:51 AM

  7. I live in Mexico City and "gay" is the neutral word. Maricon, jota, puta, loca, etc are not.

    Give me a break- the English I grew up with(from a racist father) meant that "nigger" was neutral for black. I've grown up and moved on from the ignorant language of my youth - I hope he can do the same.

    Posted by: Anon | Jul 13, 2007 11:45:06 AM

  8. Zeke: "... bold face lie ..."

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! :-) So many people use "bald face lie" and it drives me nuts!

    Posted by: Jeff | Jul 13, 2007 11:54:19 AM

  9. I'm glad to see that a Democrat is taken to task ALMOST as virulently as a Republican would be over something he said that denigrates homosexuals. Maybe the gay left isn't as hypocritical as I thought.

    Posted by: Kamasutra Jones | Jul 13, 2007 12:23:44 PM


    Posted by: DD | Jul 13, 2007 12:25:46 PM

  11. Richardson is putting out a brush fire here before anyone has opportunity (Opportunists, take note) to throw gasoline atop it.

    Sidebar on Richardson: In a recent Advocate magazine interview, Richardson re-iterated his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, though he seems to support civil unions (A win/win as far as I am concerned).

    Posted by: Stephen | Jul 13, 2007 12:26:09 PM

  12. That's really funny Stephen because no one here is concerned with how you're concerned.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jul 13, 2007 12:40:49 PM

  13. Everyone else has adequately address Richardson's surprisingly insulting [both to gays as a people and intellectually] and worthless excuses. We predict "the Imus Defense" will end up in the OED eventually. At least he didn't blame it on too many Twinkies.

    As for Kamasutra—have I encouraged you to suck a razorblade recently? Just checking.

    Posted by: Leland | Jul 13, 2007 12:48:15 PM

  14. Maricón means Queer, it used to be to call a gay, but nowadays is more to call somebody who is weak, fearful and stupid.
    Even a gay man can use it to insult to a straight person.
    He is a "maricon", seams, He is a coward

    Posted by: sergio | Jul 13, 2007 1:04:30 PM

  15. When you said marico you are referring to the stereotype that is thought of homosexuals. When you accentuate that word with con, you are most definitely insulting individuals for their homosexual condition. Richardson is a distraction in the on oncoming elections. We should just ignore this clown.

    Posted by: Rafael | Jul 13, 2007 1:17:36 PM

  16. I live in New Mexico, where Bill Richardson is governor, and I have to say I thihk he's a great person whose made great strides for us.

    I don't for a second believe he is homophobic, and he's right to question the timing of this issue because it's clearly a smear tactic.

    If you really listen to him I think you'll begin to see that he is a very intelligent, thoughful man, whose less "politician" than the better half of our candidates.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 13, 2007 2:19:31 PM

  17. Oye Serigio, no te hagas el pendejo.
    Seriously. Oh, and I meant that in as "neutral" a way as possible.


    All the man had to do was fess up and admit he f'd up instead of the bs story of he didn't know any better. Had it been in english would you still be defending him?

    Posted by: silverskreen | Jul 13, 2007 3:17:19 PM

  18. technically, it was imus who used the spanish word for faggot .. and richardson agreed with him. very lame of him to not simply fess up, apologize, and move on.
    don't know much about his stance on gay issues, but civil unions are not marriage as we are seeing in new jersey, the UPS case, and elsewhere. if you're not a spouse you still don't count.

    Posted by: el polacko | Jul 13, 2007 6:26:22 PM

  19. Sr. POLACKO: You are desafortunadamente muy incorecto. Imus did use the word "maricon", but Richards took the bait and went on to "insult" the guy Imus' staffmember Bernard by saying,

    Posted by: Rey | Jul 13, 2007 7:11:28 PM

  20. Silverskreen,

    I think he did admit he f*cked up. He clearly apologizes in the above statement.

    You're right, if he had said "faggot" I might have been more taken aback, but because I've watched Richardson I know whatever he said was not meant to offend. I don't endorse slurs of any kind, but I also believe we live in a day and age where it's very easy to offend a group, belief, or a way of living and mistakes do happen.

    That said, Richardson's conversation with Imus took an ugly turn. It just shouldn't have happened. And nonetheless, I don't believe this to be an acurate reflection of Richardson's character. As far as I'm concerned it's water under the bridge.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 16, 2007 11:29:14 PM

Post a comment


« «Beatlemania vs. Beckham-mania: A Tale of Two British Invasions« «