Mark Saxenmeyer | Minneapolis | News

Gay Reporter Fired from Minneapolis Station After 'HOMO Dads' Joke Makes It to Print


Minneapolis KSTP reporter Mark Saxenmeyer was fired this week after a joke he inserted into the web script for a story on a Minnesota gay couple attending the White House Easter Egg roll made it to print. The joke was intended to make his colleague, Katherine Johnson, laugh, and he asked her to remove it before it went to print, and she did — most of it.

2_saxenmeyerRomenesko reports:

The big HOMO dads line was one of those things.

“I said, ‘Make sure you delete that because obviously that would not be funny out of context,’” says the fired newsman. “She deleted most of it. There was one little part she missed when she closed it.”

The story was posted on, then flagged. An editor’s note added to the update said: “Earlier today comments were published erroneously regarding this story. KSTP does not condone the comments. Action is being taken to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The Star Tribune adds:

KSTP news director Lindsay Radford said, “I’m not going to comment on personnel issues.”

Asked about the editor’s note, Radford said, “We had an employee, as a joke, make an inappropriate reference inside that story. It was published with that inappropriate comment. We removed it immediately. That employee has been dealt with.”

Saxenmeyer, who says he's been "out and proud" since he was 25, is contrite:

"Bizarre ironic is what it is. I’m not sorry for me. I’m a big boy; I’ll get over it. I made a profoundly stupid mistake. There’s just no getting around that. I have apologized profusely. It was stupid, inappropriate, irresponsible. It is beyond comprehensible. Make that clear. I don’t want anyone else to suffer repercussions of this. I especially don’t want the gay community to be hurt or offended in any way. They are the last people I would ever want to malign and disparage. When you are gay, you sometimes feel you can say things because they are coming from a place not of disrespect or evil."

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  1. Self-loathing is a most unpleasant character trait.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Apr 4, 2013 2:59:01 PM

  2. wow, it goes to show being an idiot is not just restricted to straight people. Good he was fired; it doesn't matter if he himself is gay, it was stupid immature thing to do.

    Posted by: KT | Apr 4, 2013 3:01:00 PM

  3. Ha, I get it Marcus.

    Classy dude, classy apology, good luck on your job hunt!

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 4, 2013 3:01:35 PM

  4. It's like a very bad MTM show sketch

    Posted by: lany | Apr 4, 2013 3:01:42 PM

  5. It's like a very bad MTM show sketch

    Posted by: lany | Apr 4, 2013 3:01:43 PM

  6. I think the last sentence of his quoted here is the key, "When you are gay, you sometimes feel you can say things because they are coming from a place not of disrespect or evil."

    What he did was stoopid and he knows that and he's been in the business long enough to know better. Remember, always assume the client/customer/audience can hear/read it.

    Posted by: David R | Apr 4, 2013 3:07:52 PM

  7. P.S. I think his apology is sincere and well-put.

    Posted by: David R | Apr 4, 2013 3:08:16 PM

  8. Be very careful what you put in print.

    Posted by: Tom in Long Beach | Apr 4, 2013 3:10:00 PM

  9. Stupid mistake, but classy apology. Take your lumps and move on. I liked him when he worked here in Chicago. I hope he finds another good gig.

    Posted by: ChicagoR | Apr 4, 2013 3:14:08 PM

  10. Let me guess? He's a gay republican? A tea party gay?

    Posted by: J. | Apr 4, 2013 3:16:50 PM

  11. Who of us doesn't make jokes like this from time to time? I do. In the privacy of my home, or with close friends. This easily could have happened to me. There seems to be more a tale about caution here than homophobia. The cameras, microphones, etc. are NEVER OFF. Shame, though.

    Posted by: Robert | Apr 4, 2013 3:17:10 PM

  12. Must give him credit - in these days of insincere apologies - that this apology is sincere and remorseful. Providing background gives insight that his comment was not meant to be hurtful, merely a lapse in good judgement. I wish him the best.

    Posted by: Mitch | Apr 4, 2013 3:17:54 PM

  13. I love how people are assuming he's self-hating and/or Republican. He made a fairly innocent joke, and you're all throwing him to the wolves.

    Shame. On. You.

    Posted by: Mikey | Apr 4, 2013 3:18:41 PM

  14. So now we're not allowed to may gay jokes either? Oh. Okay.

    He was goofing around at work. We've all done silly things at work. It's not like he worked in a restaurant and put "2 Big Homo Dads" on a guest check. Come on!

    Posted by: Gigi | Apr 4, 2013 3:18:44 PM

  15. Well, maybe because i'm spanish (and we are not that prude with language) but that seems a quite innocent joke that obviously went wrong. But i can't see the intention to offend, and the apologize is a real apologize and not the classical if someone was offended ...

    Curious that when a straight make an homophobic comment generally don't end fired

    Posted by: jjose712 | Apr 4, 2013 3:28:27 PM

  16. "Big Homo" is only funny if you are still in the third grade or a frat boy. He was fired? Hilarious!

    Posted by: HirsuteHeuristics | Apr 4, 2013 3:42:04 PM

  17. "...out of context.." ???

    Posted by: Tre | Apr 4, 2013 3:43:15 PM

  18. Typical overreaction from those commenting on here and the news station. He should have been severely disciplined but not fired, unless there was a pattern of stupid actions that reflects badly on the station. I wonder how many people were outraged when then Senator Joe Biden said ON CAMERA "You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent.... I'm not joking."

    Posted by: Paul | Apr 4, 2013 3:47:14 PM

  19. I feel bad that it made it to print and got him fired but you shouldn't f around like that at work anyway. You can make as many gay, racist, sexist jokes you want on your own time.

    Posted by: Isaac | Apr 4, 2013 3:47:49 PM

  20. Not sure this is a firing offense. Standards can be a little too high sometimes. Would it be the same as calling someone black? Probably not, but the phrasing is hard to compare.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 4, 2013 3:56:49 PM

  21. Once again another over reaction to a mundane situation.

    Posted by: HA! | Apr 4, 2013 4:13:25 PM

  22. It would be easy to excuse this under "this sort of thing goes on all the time in newsrooms" because we are led to believe that trying to make the on-air person laugh or screw up is commonplace. I sincerely doubt that station owners approve of this practice.

    IN restaurants "horseplay" is specifically forbidden in the employee rulebook. Yes, it happens all the time and often with managers participating or laughing along. But when someone slips and cracks his head and has to go to the hospital, it's back to the rulebook time and people sometimes get fired. Why? Because it creates liability.

    Newsroom "horseplay" can cost a program or a network both money and prestige. Somebody got fired.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Apr 4, 2013 4:14:41 PM

  23. Jewish people make Jew joke. Black people make black jokes. We make gay jokes. This just happend to make it to print. Too bad he was fired for it.

    Posted by: jleo71 | Apr 4, 2013 4:18:15 PM

  24. Robert,

    You make gay, jewish or black jokes in the safety of your own home??? WHY won't YOU people realise that not EVERYONE is like you!!??

    I'm far, far from perfect but I just don't find it funny making fun of another person difference hugely entertaining!

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 4, 2013 4:20:29 PM

  25. jjose712

    I smell a rat with this email and wonder if his 'friend' didn't do it on purpose but gay men have a habit of befriending/worshipping nasty bitchy women, so go figure!

    Posted by: Rowan | Apr 4, 2013 4:26:45 PM

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