1. patrick lehman says

    I think gays should be treated with respect, but wilting and crying at every transgression makes us seem like dainty, fragile flowers. Let’s toughen up our titties, shall we?

  2. says

    Patrick’s right, to a point. I think we can all tell the difference between a benign off-color comment and a malicious statement.

    Is Paul Shaffer still alive? I thought he died years ago. Amazing what technology can do these days.

  3. Marc C says

    So again I reiterate… We need to take back the words faggot and queer and “own” them for ourselves by calling each other these names but homo is offensive. Am I understanding this correctly?

    Missing anything here at all?

    Please, let’s get this stupid debate underway because I’m seriously considering ditching my “gay, queer, fag” ID card and saying fuck you to the lot of you the next time you are beaten or killed. You’re being fucking stupid.

  4. Wes says

    “I’m seriously considering ditching my “gay, queer, fag” ID card and saying fuck you to the lot of you the next time you are beaten or killed”

    What an awful thing to say. Anyone who would need help probably wouldn’t want it from you.

  5. Wes says

    Watch the video. I really don’t think Downey was suggesting the ‘homo’ aspect was a negative at all. In fact he seemed to be playfully making a case for it, like when he suggested the fiance as a beard. I don’t think he used the word in an insulting way at all, it was only when Shaffer decided to say “you’re saying they’re a bunch of screamers?” that things got awkward.

  6. JimmyDj says

    STEVEN JACOBSON: That was a snide yet typical comment. You, who I’m sure, live without fault. Robert sure has his addiction problems but seems to to be keeping his demons at bay.
    How about you? Can’t beat the meth? Oh… I’m sorry. Was that rude?
    Robert’s comment made me laugh. He seems to be one of the least hateful people. His antics made headlines but never, even drunk or high, did he ever make snide remarks about anyone.
    STEVEN JACOBSON: Must be lonely living so high up.

  7. Marc C says

    The point that I am trying to make is if there was any word that we need to accept on behalf of ourselves it is homo. As Dan says that IS technically what we are.

    I’m tired of using a more palatable name for myself or adjusting my own sense of right and wrong b/c some of us think it’ll lessen the sting. That’s utter bullshit.

  8. JimmyDj says

    DAVID EHRENSTEIN: Well known? Really? Has he said he’s bisexual? There’s been rumor for years but rumor doesn’t mean it’s true. You say this as a fact. The fact is, he was asked to move for his own safety. And since he seems to being doing well with his sobriety, what does it matter?
    Just like the argument against gay marriage, how does Robert’s personal life effect you?

  9. Hunter says

    I don’t feel offended by Downey’s comments, and it doesn’t appear to me that he intended them to be offensive. Schaffer’s comment was one drop too much, but – hey – it’s a comedy program and that’s what happens, and not infrequently either.
    Conclusion: not worth getting upset over.

  10. Wes says

    Marc C, if you haven’t noticed most of the commenters agree Downey’s comment was not offensive, but Shaffer’s was pretty assy.

    I don’t have a problem with the word homo at all, unless perhaps its being used in some kind of insulting manner, which it clearly wasn’t in this case.

  11. JimmyDj says

    WES: Not at all. This wasn’t about you. I was merely pointing out that some of the most homophobic rudeness comes from the so-called Gay Community.
    And now… I apologize… I don’t know why I tagged you with this… I agree with your comments. Maye it’s cos I’m food deprived… which will change in about 5 hours!

  12. butchfaginnola says

    who exactly is complaining about this? someone in the media?

    Downey and Schaffer are not homophobes and frankly anyone who is so thin skinned that that are offended by this needs to put their BIG GIRL PANTIES on and suck it up!

    Lets face it, I AM A FAG!, A HOMO! A QUEER! and proud of it! Many of US are Screamers, Queens, Limp Wristed Ladies who are Light in the Loafers! and guess what? they should be proud of who they are!

    If they are offended that someone notices their feminine attributes, then they can learn to butch it up, or not as they please! But they don’t get to WHINE when someone notices, when someone doesn’t like to be associated with men who act like little girls.

    But trying to stir up a tempest in a teapot over this? hell we have bigger issues!

    Uganda is passing a bill to KILL gays!

    The Democrats are shuffling our needs off until an unknown time, while sticking their hands out for OUR money to support OTHER peoples issues!

    The Log Cabin Gays are supporting homophobes against gay rights!

    Our medical system is in the toilet and pandering politicians are bending the country over to be raped YET AGAIN by the Insurance industy!

    The same Weasel politicans are allowing the Banking, Housing, Credit and Mortgage thieves to continue to hide behind a false claim of Capitalism while giving them Corporate Welfare by the truckload.

    And some biotch is whining because an actor said “homo” and a bald effeminate musician said “screamer’?

    Get over yourself girly-boy, grow a pair of testicles and deal with it!

  13. Jason says

    Oh I dont find this offensive at all… it’s clearly snide. I say things like this to my friends all the time.

    The only danger is that much of the audience probably doesn’t get the subtext, but I don’t think any of them meant to be offensive.

  14. Josh says

    Having freedom of speech in this country guarantees that at some point you are going to be offended by what someone else is saying. Part of maintaining your own right to free speech means standing by while someone else says something that may hurt to the core of your being, and understanding that they are protected by the same right. Why not be the better person and respect their right to say it without agreeing with them? Political correctness has really gone too far in America. They’re just words people, stop allowing them to be so powerful. Get over it.

  15. Wes says

    I see no reason to think people don’t respect freedom of speech. There seems to be a misconception that if you ever object to something someone says, you are stifling their freedom to speak when really you’re just exercising your own.

  16. Eric says

    Thank you for that Wes, I agree with you.

    Also I’m more offended by his comment that he is proud to know certain of the butch homosexuals.

    Really? This seems to imply that he’s not proud of knowing ones that are less masculine. Why should we only take pride in gay men who are masculine? There is nothing wrong with being less masculine or being feminine. However, we keep allowing society dictate to us how “men” should act. It’s a damn shame.

  17. Pembertstone says

    Maybe I’m wrong, but when I look at the clip, Downey’s comment is in reaction to the fact Letterman won’t say the words – he dodges around what the “relationship” might be, so Downey puts it on the line, to make Letterman uncomfortable with his hedging. To have reacted with a polite comment would undermine the whole effect – the real problem here is the fact Letterman couldn’t bring himself to ask if the movie depicted a gay relationship in front of his audience.

  18. Chad says

    While I’m not up in arms about this, it was a stupid things to say. It’s akin to saying saying that “many black people aren’t on welfare”, that “many jews aren’t money hungry”, or, hey, that “many drug addicted actors don’t act like morons, break into your house and pass out on your couch.”

  19. says

    I can understand people not being affected by the word “homo”, but we can’t forget that LGBT children face school bullying that includes being called “homo” in an unmistakably pejorative and derogatory fashion. Though we may be able to handle the word just fine, our younger brothers and sisters may not have the support that we have, and it is no surprise that LGBT teenagers are more likely to consider committing suicide. Whether we agree or disagree about it, pejorative slurs like this do hurt others, and we should be doing something to help our LGBT youth, especially during a time when we are not legally equal citizens.

  20. Dusty says

    Jeez, he was clearly trying to get a rise out of Dave by being slightly offensive. Big deal. I’d say the same thing.

    Paul’s attempt was a bit weak, but see, it’s funny because Sherlock Holmes wasn’t a screamer.

    Then again, if you have to explain it…

    Regardless I love Robert Downey. <3

  21. MATT says

    Downey is bi; Shaffer is totally gay – ran into him and his BF in Miami @ Nobu. They were just having girl-talk on camera. David felt left out and didn’t know what to do.

  22. walter says

    Paul shaffer is abigger screamer than anyone i have ever met between his high voice and mannerisms he is gay and if homos bother robert downing to hell with sherlock holmes let it go right to dvd

  23. Gregus says

    Oh come on people! Paul Shaffer wrote ‘It’s Raining Men’ the single gayest songs out there! He wrote it with Paul Jabara who was gay and died of AIDS. Paul has been on Letterman talking about his work with gay people, performing at gay pride etc. Neither Paul nor Robert Downey Jr. are homophobes. Un-knot panties in 3,2,1…

  24. says

    “-it’s a comedy program, and that’s what happens, and not infrequently either.”

    Yes, not infrequently. And why is it that the joke or possibly offensive term is directed at gay people more than any other group these days? That doesn’t “happen” with other groups these days, and I’ll just mention the more “tame” ones like fat women or the “Pollacks”. People (at least those who use it as part of the way they make a living) make choices about the topics they choose and the words they express all the time. If what “happens” frequently on comedy shows is to use gay people to be funny, that tells us just where we stand and why our rights gets pushed to the side by lawmakers.

  25. Michael Strangeways says

    It WAS a bit much coming from RDJ, who allegedly wasn’t that picky about the gender of his sex partners back in the day, and Shaffer, the biggest Metrosexual on television. And surprising that Letterman looked uncomfortable since he gets very “Indiana” about gay topics and esp. trans topics.

  26. Landon Bryce says

    Patrick Lehman tells gay men to “toughen up their titties.”

    He’s much more offensively homophobic than anything in the clip. Downey’s comment would not have caught attention on its own. Shaffer’s use of the term “screamers” is offensive and he should apologize. Letterman handled himself well.

    This clip will hurt the movie at the box office.

  27. says

    This ignorance-filled comment thread partially explains why LGBT folk don’t have full equality in this society. When will we ever get the truth about sexual slurs through our thick heads? If we own the pejorative names, we also own the pejorative connotations, and we suffer the consequences! Downey and Shaffer’s flippant comments deserve condemnation, and so do the responses of certain Towleroad blog patrons. We need some serious consciousness-raising up in here.

  28. Q says

    So WHAT Paul Shaffer wrote “It’s Raining Men”? How many gay men have written songs about making love to women? What does THAT prove, that they’re STRAIGHT?

  29. mark says

    What a bunch of pussies. Learn how to take a joke for christ sake. Put your energy into real gay bashing. I’m sure many of you will be at a drag show tonight, where there will be real offensive bantering going on, thinking nothing of it. There are plenty of real battles to be fought. Let’s not kick people who have often been our allies. By the way, I prefer being called a fruit.

  30. says

    I agree with most of you. These are not offensive comments. If Kathy Griffin or Margaret Cho says it, it’s funny. But here? These are not homophobes. These are entertainment people with gay friends. They’re just using funny terms they know will get a rise out of the audience, gay & straight alike.

  31. TANK says

    well he’s not proud to be one, is he… Butch is a little strong for jr.

    Shaffer’s an idiot. If you’ve ever listened to an interview he’s given, it’s a miracle he can string two syllables together. He’s an old ugly lech, too. He’s very lucky to have fallen ass backward into “success,” as defined by someone of his limited musical talent…and not doing scores for porno movies, which would be more suitable to the image he’s cultivated for himself.

  32. Scott Revo says

    The fact of the matter is, Downey is an honorary gay whereas Paul Shaffer is an ACTUAL GAY. Hello, have you seen his clothes? And he wrote the song ‘It’s Raining Men’ yall!

  33. JauntyJohn says

    Downey was just putting the name to what Letterman was dancing around, and there was nothing offensive in that at all — in fact, if you really think about it, his reaction was totally calm and okay, there was no “What? Oh no! They weren’t at all!” going on. Schaeffer was — and is — an irrelevant jerk, in this case trying to be somewhat offensive to add “spice.” Letterman was funny, actually, in his head shaking kind of “Oh no” reaction. But Downey, by not having some kind of big deal negative reaction to the question, offers the best possible reaction: That if they (the chars in the film) were gay, it is no big deal.
    Are we really so touchy that “homo’s” causes people to dis him?
    Worthy of discussion, but not outrage.

  34. Jack Scribe says

    “Homo” is sooooo 90’s high school. I also didn’t think Downey was being negative…just a little ancient in his use of dated slang. Schaefer tried to pull off a joke comment and it backfired.

  35. O. Who Cares says

    ok boys…simmer down. Just remember that it was little Paul Shaffer who co-wrote our anthem ‘It’s Raining Men.’ Now imagine where we’d be without THAT.

  36. MarioFL says

    If you guys allow people to make jokes at your expense…you will only ever be jokes to them. Downey Jr’s comments were not ok and I will not be seeing this movie.

  37. Paul says

    Many commentators are missing the point. If one celeb, and especially if two celebs, used racist or antisemtic slurs on a television show, condemnation would quickly follow. Why isn’t homophobia treated the same way? And what message does this send to closeted gay youth?

  38. db says

    There’s always someone saying “we shouldn’t overreact–we shouldn’t appear to be oversensitive…” I say bullshit, we take too much. We let too much roll off our backs, I saw we should raise a stink more often and become just as obnoxious as any other minority group.

  39. Daniel says

    In Belgium, for instance, which provides full equality to gay people, the term homo IS the term for gay. The abbreviation is HOLEBI, such as Holebi hotel, short for Homo-Lesbian-Bi. There is no negative connotation to Homo in Belgium and other parts of Europe. It may trigger a turn-of-the-head in America to some folks but unless it is said spitefully it is not automatically a “bad” word. He is after all pushing a European-set film, Sherlock Holmes.

  40. nic says

    i am not surprised at all by the alleged bi-sexual’s (downey jr) comments, but paul shaefer should be a lot more careful. “homos” and “screamers” as epithets should not be terms thrown around by presumably straight men. they come off as disparaging. i have never cared much for the drug-addled downey jr, and this makes me like him less. but, at the very least, the distraught letterman should ask paul to apologize.

    i do not think for a minute that anyone meant any harm. nevertheless, there was harm done. this kind of lazy-shit talk echoes. and, we should as gay men, call attention to this.

  41. Bayley says

    I get so annoyed by gay posters on here who brush off EVERY SINGLE story related to even slight homophobia with their rebuttal being “GET OVER IT. There’s bigger fish to fry like gay marriage and DOMA and DADT…that’s where our attention should be”

    Don’t you foolish sheep (following the hetro herd laughing while walking ahead of you)…GET IT?….The reason those things are an epic fail is derived from comments like these, sentiments that are homophobic, and a flippant attitude when it comes to mistreatment and lack of respect for gay folks.

    You could NOTTTTTTTT get away with these comments by any other minority group (if he called woman ho’s, he’d have to issue an apology, if he made a funny line about special needs…he’d have to donate money to the cause, if he said something related to people of different races/religions…he wouldn’t work again in this town)…but call gays homos while suggesting most act like woman and having another interject with “you mean screamers” with thunderous applause..? well, that’s freedom of speech, comedy, and just words. Those words are why we’re losing the fight.

    Worst is when you come on the comments section here and those defending these subtle acts of homophobic tendencies, don’t just defend them, they defend them with homophobic commentary of their own…”Shut up you queens. Man up! queen!”…

    and we wonder why we’re not winning in the polls?


  42. Matthewshell says

    Robert Downey Jr. was not being insulting by saying that. He merely stated what Letterman was afraid to put out there. Robert even said that many of his personal friends were homosexual. He has gone around saying how much he does care for Jude in a friendly way etc. I do know in fact that Robert does have alot of friends that are homosexual and he supports them. Sean Penn and Robert have been friends since they were teenagers and both men have advocated for gay rights and marriages. Robert has even come out and stated that he experimented when he was younger. He has always been truthful. He has always never been afraid to play the part of a Homosexual in a movie. Robert goes out of his way to be supportive. Robert also didn’t say whether Holmes was homosexual or not in the movie. He said to let the audience watch the clip and let them decide for themselves. Which was great.
    I didn’t however like Paul Schaffer’s remark very much though. However, he is an idiot so he can be overlooked as one.

  43. Wheezy says


    Thank you for putting into words *EXACTLY* what I was thinking. You can’t let the little stuff slide. Perhaps “homo” was not meant to be offensive but it is a slur than is thrown out at bullied children and “screamers” WAS meant to be offensive. If they hate us they must also hate our $$$

  44. Vince says

    I love Robert Downey, Jr! Always will. He’s a Hollywood treasure. Paul Schafer is just a silly old man. Some of the comments on this post are quite interesting. It’s like it’s not okay for RD and PS to be saying these things because they’re straight (I guess) to a laughing audience of (probably mostly) straights. And we’re supposed to *be offended* because it’s *at our expense.* Do I have this right?

    To me, context is everything. But, then again, I’m usually the last to be offended by anything directed at the gay community.

  45. Whorey Mary says

    As far as I am concerned, schaffer always appeared fey to me. As for RD Jr, even his father thought that his son was gay. So let us not get OUR panties in a bunch and fight over the remarks of 2 queens. We ought to be used to those catty remarks already–every Saturday at the clubs for me. Lets just kiss and make up. Shall we? Mwah!

  46. joey batch says

    thank you butchfaginnola,all of the things that you mentioned and more are way more important than a few maybe snide comments on a talk show by two ‘celeb’s’ on the ED SHOW on msnbc he asked why is it that for instance in the recent houston mayor election why only a few voters went to the polls, (not about the outcome) but why do so many people not care about what is really important in our lives but in the trivial,he,mr. olbermann and ms.maddow are beating the drums every day about how close we all of us are in danger for our lives by the powers that be all of which butchfaginnola seems to be paying attention to,go back reread his comment and and then see if all this silly dumb stuff is more important than what we really need to be afraid of.

  47. gaylib says

    This commentary is a perfect example of why our civil rights movement has been stalled, and indeed is actually taking a reverse course. When so many gays applaud blatantly homophobic behavior how could it not? Downey Jr. just made you all the butt of a joke (when he said “homos” letterman laughed–it was a joke, and you all were the punchline) And that was exactly the reaction Downey wanted. being gay is not funny. It is not akin to being part of a freak show. Enabling grown men to behave and giggle like school children about ourselves and OUR LIVES is an affront to our civil rights and our dignity and will only prolong our struggle to gain those rights and the respect that we deserve.

  48. Matt says

    Downey Jr. is a cool guy. He probably has scores of gay friends. He was just trying to be funny. I’m straight (not hiding, but came across the site because it linked with a crime article, seriously LOL) but I enjoy talking with men who happen to be gay. My neighbor’s gay and we hang out all the time. Most gay man are educated and very talented at what they do. They also get away with saying alot of things that white straight males cannot. But being in the company of some gay men, you hear the term “faggot” and “homo” quite frequently. When I myself use those words around them, it is ever so lightly and in context of the conversation. People are too sensitive these days.

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