John Key | New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Under Fire for Using the Word 'Gay' as an Insult: VIDEO


New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key is under fire for mocking a radio host's red jacket, suggesting he's a weak golfer because the jacket's color is "gay", the New Zealand Herald reports:

"What you're wearing is an absolute disgrace. You parade yourself as some sort of centre-right interested community leader and you're in the red," he said. Later in the segment he described Mackay's top as "gay" in an exchange about golf. "You're munted mate. You're never going to make it. You've got that gay red top on."

The comments have been ridiculed on Twitter, with comedian Guy Williams saying "John Key is quickly becoming to New Zealand what Borat was to Kazakhstan."

Other Twitter users said the use of "gay" as an insult made Mr Key appear homophobic.

Today Mr Key said he used the term "gay" to mean "weird". He said he picked up the term from his children and had no intention of seeming homophobic. Asked at his post-Cabinet press conference whether he was homophobic, Mr Key said: "No, I'm voting for gay marriage, I'm hardly homophobic - I led the charge on it."

Mr Key agreed it was an unfortunate use of words but said: "a hell of a lot of people would use it and the common use of it is in the Oxford dictionary".

"Young people use it all the time, I don't think too many people would be offended by it. If someone is I apologise for it," he said.

Key was already under fire for comments he had made earlier in the day, calling footballer David Beckham "thick as batsh*t".


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  1. I think it is just as odd that he referred to a men's shirt or jacket as a "top". Here in the US a "top" is a piece of women's clothing, not men's.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Nov 5, 2012 8:00:21 AM

  2. Keep in mind that it was the homosexual community which took the word "gay" and turned it into a substitute for "homosexual". Therefore, if the homosexual community can do it then others can do it. It thus stands to reason that others have taken the gay word and turned it into a substitute for "stupid".

    Personally, I think "gay" has run its course and is now functionless in the sense of ordinary intelligent discourse. The only purpose it serves - and this is not a dignified purpose by any means - is to prop up the commercial marketing slogans of those who wish to make money from the "gay" community.

    I would like to see an end to this gay word. The sooner it disappears into the vapors of history, the better.

    Posted by: jason | Nov 5, 2012 8:33:39 AM

  3. Leave it to Jason to give me acid reflux this early in the morning...

    Posted by: WayneMPLS | Nov 5, 2012 8:46:14 AM

  4. @Jason.... No one turned "gay" into a substitute for "stupid" in a vacuum. They did it by first equating homosexuality with stupid, then going the next step to therefore gay = stupid.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Nov 5, 2012 8:59:04 AM

  5. Only Jason could turn a straight man's homophobic language into an opportunity to bash the gay community.

    That is first-class trolling.

    Posted by: endo | Nov 5, 2012 9:00:29 AM

  6. I almost have the urge to throw something at the computer and pretend it's John Key.

    "Gay means weird and it's not meant to be homophobic."

    Um, hello, unenlightened fools. The reason why gay in social commentary has been connected to "weirdness" or something bad and wrong, is homophobia. The fact a PM of a country would use the word gay in this way is really, really a bad representation of the country they lead.

    What's worse is, he's really not sorry at all, and he really doesn't understand why people are offended. He truly does not get it. Hence the excuses "young people use it all the time" and "I didn't mean it that way".

    Shut up and grow up, John Key.

    Posted by: Francis | Nov 5, 2012 9:11:08 AM

  7. It's the exact same reason "queer" came to mean "gay"

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 5, 2012 9:17:59 AM

  8. My god you uppity nellies love to get your panties in a twist over such a stupid thing. Don't you people have lives??

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 5, 2012 9:23:43 AM

  9. @Matt.... and yet your life is so full that you felt it was necessary to read this article, read the comments and then comment for yourself......

    Posted by: Tim NC | Nov 5, 2012 10:11:45 AM

  10. His use of the word as a perjorative is the same as when we older men were kids and the word 'homo' was thrown around the schoolyard. He could have apologized and that would have been that. But instead, he blames his own kids. Since when does a Prime Minister take his cues on language from children? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

    Posted by: DrMikey | Nov 5, 2012 10:27:54 AM

  11. You may recognize that in much or perhaps most of the world, red is associated with the left side of the political spectrum, not the right. So it's reasonable to say "You parade yourself as some sort of centre-right interested community leader and you're in the red". Of course, the other comment is out of line (which I didn't hear in the whole second clip... did I miss it?)

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 5, 2012 10:51:42 AM

  12. The PM sounds like a loose cannon. Lack of impulse control.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 5, 2012 10:57:28 AM

  13. Key is an embarrassment to NZ. Such a foolish man. He routinely turns up to glad-hand with drag queens at community events, but does VERY little to advance LGBT rights in NZ. The only reason he now 'supports' marriage equality is because public opinion is going that way, and he wants to remain in power. Spineless cretin.

    Posted by: Dan | Nov 5, 2012 1:21:51 PM

  14. This seems sort of like a non-story. I have no idea what idiomatic English is like in New Zealand and perhaps he's correct that just as in the States "gay" has come to mean "stupid," there it has come to mean "weird." Sounds more like a slip of the tongue anyway, and certainly isn't an international news story for any meaningful interpretation of the word "news."

    Posted by: Chris | Nov 5, 2012 4:03:25 PM

  15. @Randy: For God Knows What reason a few years ago, the traditional color scheme for the US parties flipped. The (conservative) Republians are now red and the (liberal) Democrats are blue. Go figure.

    An odd item: A former colleague of mine from Macedonia turned down a great deal on a car in the US because the car was red = homosexual.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Nov 6, 2012 5:19:32 AM

  16. Embarrassing. If I was a New Zealander I'd have my face on my palm right now.

    And he's the prime minister? Jeez.

    Posted by: Tristram | Nov 6, 2012 7:55:51 AM

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