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TechCrunch Posts Homophobic 'Fags' Slur with Twitter Story

Twitter_not_for_fags

A reader sent in this note, regarding today's TechCrunch story on Twitter:

"In today's TechCrunch (the leading technology-news blog, a very, very powerful voice here in the Bay Area and beyond), one of the writers posted a story on why TechCrunch covers Twitter so much. Well, in publishing the story, TechCrunch used the attached image, which reads 'Why Twitter is not lame (or for fags).' After people complained about TechCrunch not only putting up a homophobic image but blasting it out through all of its various feeds, the writer, Robin Wauters, left the image up but blurred out the ('or for fags') text. When people complained about it in the comments section, the writer was very defensive and catty. Wauters refused to apologize (and is still refusing). Only after he was slammed repeatedly did he remove the link to the original creator of the image (DarkMotion). His final response in the blog? 'Image removed, link deleted.' He put a note in the text that reads 'Image from DarkMotion: no link because the original image contains a word that is offensive to some.' Perhaps it's not a big deal, but if this image had read 'or for n***ers' in brown text, this story would have made the cover of the NYTimes and CNN, and Michael Arrington, the CEO of TechCrunch, would have been on the news begging for forgiveness. But since it's just us fags, so to speak, he can get away with not even apologizing."

The complaints, as of now, are still there in the comments. I read TechCrunch every day. I would have expected better from one of its contributors.

NOTE: I've changed the gender references in the tipster's note so as to avoid confusion.

UPDATE: Wauters has apologized in our comments section: "Hi, I'm the author of the TechCrunch article, and yes I'm a man. I understand why you are all mad at me, and I deserve to be pointed to my own mistakes. That said, I honestly did not see the word when I embedded the image, and I did notice it when it was published. I didn't remove it because of the comments, it was already gone when the first comment came in. I feel sick about all of this, I hate hatred and bigotry, and I would never ever condone the word 'fag' to be used. I'm sorry."

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Comments

  1. JIMMINY is correct. It appears to have been an oversight on the part of Robin Wauters who apologized. The person who created the image at DarkMotion is the one who should be taken to task.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 12, 2009 3:20:21 PM


  2. JIMMINY is correct. It appears to be a mistake on the part of Robin Wauters who removed the image and apologized on TechCrunch and here on Towleroad. The one who should be taken to task is the person who created the image at DarkMotion.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 12, 2009 3:24:02 PM


  3. 1.Open up internet browser (IE,Firefox,Safari,etc)

    2.Go to 'Bookmarks' and click it.

    3.Scroll down to "TechCrunch" and right-click it.

    4.Scroll down to 'Delete' and click it.

    And FYI pugzz, we SHOULD condemn/oppose the use of the word 'fag' or 'gay' to refer to something which i think is has negative implication - which is what those young (mostly) people are doing now. What if I say the 'n' word and tell people I'm using it to refer others as "wimp,sissy,bizarre,etc". Do you think it will be tolerated? Hell no. so we shouldn't tolerate it either.


    Posted by: gayalltheway | Feb 12, 2009 3:29:09 PM


  4. ...and what is up with Towleroad's display of comments, they're all showing up oddly.

    Posted by: cj | Feb 12, 2009 3:30:32 PM


  5. Saragorn: That's a wonderful idea. Let's start typing in all sorts of slurs to see what happens. If you have an issue with what was written, then address that issue. Period.

    Posted by: Brandon | Feb 12, 2009 3:44:34 PM


  6. So this blog is a technology news blog, and yet they have a writer who doesn't even bother to proof read (or even glance) at the photo he himself chose to use with his article?! Those are some smart cookies over there at TechCrunch.

    Posted by: W | Feb 12, 2009 3:50:28 PM


  7. Apology accepted. Thank you for being fair and quickly handling the situation. And thanks goes to towelroad and everyone who commented/emailed/etc both here and there. We're all just trying to make the world a better place in these tough times. None of us are enjoying "the great depression 2: electric boogaloo" and offensive stuff makes it worse. But I know we do have allies out there and I hope we can expect to see more of this type of quick cooperation in the future. Thanks.

    Posted by: Mr.Avenjer | Feb 12, 2009 3:56:41 PM


  8. Michael Arrington's response to my Facebook email posted above:

    "What the fuck are you rambling about? Did you see my posts on prop 8? Either apologize or never contact me again. Dick."

    Classy huh? He's on Facebook as michael Arrington if you want to contact him.

    Posted by: Chris | Feb 12, 2009 4:06:38 PM


  9. Nice that the piece of shit snuck fag in there on more time in his apology.

    Posted by: Bud | Feb 12, 2009 4:44:20 PM


  10. I am an avid Twit with over 1,000 followers. I have never seen any evidence of racism or homophobia and I hope it stays that way.

    I just posted a link to this article so my fellow Twitterers can be made aware of Dark Motions actions and the response from Robin( who I'm going to cut some slack for manning up).

    I don't think the vast majority of folks on Twitter are assholes. In fact, I am very open about being gay and I have followers that are LGBT, Christian groups, and a lot of hip hop magazines and organizations. I hate that this stupidity might tarnish Twitter.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Feb 12, 2009 5:41:22 PM


  11. Regardless of this bit of idiocy, Twitter is a great way to get out news about your business or social organization. There's plenty of LGBT related Twitterers in addition to news, fashion, entertainment, etc..

    I'd be honored to have Towleroad readers follow me: vegasstyleguy

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Feb 12, 2009 5:44:36 PM


  12. Judging from his picture, Robin is a Poor Thing. Be kind to him, people.

    Posted by: Strappo | Feb 12, 2009 5:53:44 PM


  13. "It can be thrown at Straights or Gays and it does not mean homosexual."

    What? Are you suggesting "fag" isn't a derogatory term for gay people? (Equivalently offensive to, say, kike or nigger.) Or are you speaking only about "gay"? In both cases, words have a history, and that history has meaning, however ignorant "young (mostly) people" may be of that meaning. People are free to use whatever words they choose, but with that freedom comes responsibility and accountability.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 12, 2009 5:54:12 PM


  14. It's stupid idiotic and just down right insulting comments like these that make it embarrassing for me to say, 'yes, i am straight'. People are people. Get over it already.

    Posted by: Caitlin | Feb 12, 2009 6:02:51 PM


  15. but yet, they STILL use the SAME image, just with out the slur.

    shameful. if they were truely sorry, they'd have gotten a new image to post there.

    Posted by: Sam | Feb 12, 2009 9:29:17 PM


  16. about 18 months ago, i was participating in a group art show with 4 other artists. during the course of the event, when it was clear my pieces were the only ones anyone was interested in, the husband of one of the artists ended up shouting at me, calling me a fag. i shut down the opening, took all of my art down, wrote a letter to the editor of the town paper to explain why i wouldn't show my art alongside these artist's work. i was told by every other artist in the show i behaved badly and that by my age, i should have learned how to take it. all i could tell them was that by the age of 51 i had learned how NOT to take it.

    We have to stand up for our rights. it is obvious they will not be freely given to us.

    this writer, editor, contributor, whatever Wauters calls himself, needs to be let go, fired. i've worked in journalism/publishing my entire adult life and someone saying they 'honestly didn't see that word in a graphic' is a mistake made ONCE and you are out the door. there are no second chances at stupidity like that. some 'mistakes' are just that bad. this is one of them.

    Wauters does not deserve a second chance to fuck up. As everyone else has said, if the N word had been used, this would be national and he would be looking for work...

    ...at McDonalds.

    and ps, i've learned to never show with other artists. i'm having my first solo show in June. my work will never be used to support the ignorant, the hypocritical or the homophobic.

    Posted by: casey | Feb 12, 2009 9:50:04 PM


  17. Fuck Robin Wauters and Fuck Sh(Tw)itter. There are other places to go and other services to use. I don't support bigots or Sh(Tw)itter.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Feb 12, 2009 9:57:41 PM


  18. Dear Gays,

    Nobody gave Blacks, Jews, or any other group respect out of the goodness of their hearts. These groups fought for it and took it. Get off your butts and do the work; that's how society changes.

    I am gay and sick of all your whining. Write a letter. Come out. Run for office. Organize a boycott. Get married. We determine how people treat us, because if it were up to others blacks would still be oppressed and Jews would still be scared about not having a secure homeland. Oh wait, those are still issues being fought over.

    Posted by: Gay Dude | Feb 12, 2009 10:04:02 PM


  19. Dear Gays,

    Nobody gave Blacks, Jews, or any other group respect out of the goodness of their hearts. These groups fought for it and took it. Get off your butts and do the work; that's how society changes.

    I am gay and sick of all your whining. Write a letter. Come out. Run for office. Organize a boycott. Get married. We determine how people treat us, because if it were up to others blacks would still be oppressed and Jews would still be scared about not having a secure homeland. Oh wait, those are still issues being fought over.

    Posted by: Gay Dude | Feb 12, 2009 10:05:59 PM


  20. Whoever the hell posted this sit is a bloody liar.

    Posted by: TOm | Feb 12, 2009 10:47:29 PM


  21. Whoever the hell posted this sit is a bloody liar.

    Posted by: TOm | Feb 12, 2009 10:47:33 PM


  22. "Looking at the post and the context, I think the graphic was directly addressing the reeeeeally common bullshit of commenters of geek sites- "Ur so ghey", or "Twitter is 4 fags". I think it's horrible, but yeah, teenage geeks call each other fag ALL THE TIME on anonymous message boards.

    The intention of the graphic seemed more about addressing exactly that- the fanboy types who say "fags", or lame, or "ghey", or whatever. It's speaking to them in their language, even making fun of it.

    IT's awful, juvenile, homophobic, yeah. But stupid punks talk this way, they do call each other 'fags" in comments, all the time. It's pretty abstracted from actual gay people it's a schoolyard insult.

    Devils advocacy over. The writer says he pulled the piece quickly, and it appears he did. Let's not get too hyped about this."


    That's exactly what I was getting at, and if people are going to produce a massive outroar over it, then I don't know where humanity is headed. I am FRIENDS with homosexuals. Some of the best friends I had were not straight.

    Posted by: Pasquale | Feb 12, 2009 11:18:09 PM


  23. lol @ Pasquale.
    "I am FRIENDS with homosexuals. Some of the best friends I had were not straight."

    do you have ANY idea how stupid your comments are? how condescending? i see your link goes to DarkMotion, so i assume you're the artist in question? your artwork is as misguided as your 1950s attitude. do the world a favor-everything you think it's OK to use the term 'fag' in your artwork, substitute 'nigger' and post it. then substitute 'towel head' then substitute 'spic' and see how many people 'get' your tone and meaning.

    and while you're at it, why don't you use these terms in person some time in conversation with the people you are reaching out to.

    good luck.

    Posted by: casey | Feb 12, 2009 11:44:34 PM


  24. lol @ Pasquale.
    "I am FRIENDS with homosexuals. Some of the best friends I had were not straight."

    do you have ANY idea how stupid your comments are? how condescending? i see your link goes to DarkMotion, so i assume you're the artist in question? your artwork is as misguided as your 1950s attitude. do the world a favor-everything you think it's OK to use the term 'fag' in your artwork, substitute 'nigger' and post it. then substitute 'towel head' then substitute 'spic' and see how many people 'get' your tone and meaning.

    and while you're at it, why don't you use these terms in person some time in conversation with the people you are reaching out to.

    good luck.

    Posted by: casey | Feb 12, 2009 11:46:35 PM


  25. @casey how about you understand that it was a sarcastic remark directed towards the people that ACTUALLY use those words without understanding the repercussions?

    When you are in the 3rd grade and someone calls you a 'fag', do you think the kid throwing it at you understands what that means? How does that feel to the person being called that without knowing what it means?

    Do you have any idea how stupid you sound trying to formulate an argument without developing context? I was calling out the people that say hurtful words like that.

    I guess I could never really expect someone as hot tempered as you to actually take a few minutes to comprehend what just went down.

    Posted by: Pasquale | Feb 12, 2009 11:50:57 PM


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