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

Saxenmeyer

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 KSTP.com, 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."

Comments

  1. KT says

    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.

  2. says

    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.

  3. ChicagoR says

    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.

  4. Robert says

    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.

  5. Mitch says

    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.

  6. Mikey says

    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.

  7. Gigi says

    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!

  8. jjose712 says

    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

  9. HirsuteHeuristics says

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

  10. Paul says

    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.”

  11. Isaac says

    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.

  12. anon says

    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.

  13. Hagatha says

    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.

  14. jleo71 says

    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.

  15. Rowan says

    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!

  16. Rowan says

    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!

  17. Hagatha says

    Rowan – Grow up. After high school most of my friends were Jewish. They were always cracking Jewish jokes, rather like Joan Rivers does. I have been told a Mormon joke by a Mormon and it was actually funny. Chris Rock is always taking shots at black culture, particularly ghetto culture and crime. Remember Chris saying, “Black people like to blame the media. The media make black people look bad. Well when you go to the ATM and you look over your shoulder, you not looking for Dan Rather, you looking for n*****s. ”

    There just are that many funny gay specific jokes. Most of our humor is in genderbending or shocking language.

  18. David says

    If the joke was to comment on how ridiculous it is to run a news story just because a gay family is participating in an Easter egg hunt, then I have no problem with it.

    If this was an example of a gay guy using anti-gay language the way a lot of gay men call themselves and other gays “queer” “girlfriend” “lady” etc., then he is a damaged man, IMO and it is good to get him out of the newsroom.

  19. Hank Plante says

    There is no way Mark should have been fired for a stupid remark in a web script (which never appeared in any on-air story). This is supremely unfair, and typical of Hubbard broadcasting, which has always had a Plantation mentality.

  20. BS says

    “When you are gay, you sometimes feel you can say things because they are coming from a place not of disrespect or evil.”….

    he should have been fired for that alone….such bs. There are evil gay people like anything else. Pretending otherwise is such bull. Look on ANY gay website if you don’t believe me. Good riddance, a-hole

  21. Paul R says

    Umm, he called them homos. Who cares? When did that become an offensive term? They are homos. I have straight male friends who call me worse things after a few beers. They’re kidding. I’m fairly sure they’re OK with me being gay because we kiss. I call them crappy things too. He shouldn’t have been fired.

  22. antb says

    If he was a straight guy, we would all have been pushing for him to be fired over this. So it’s sad, but true that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. To his credit, he completely gets it, and good luck to him.

  23. redball says

    well, it was a dumb joke anyway.

    i didnt laugh or even crack a smile. insipid. what kind of sense of humor does this dude have? o_O

  24. mikep says

    I think this situation was handled perfectly. It was a stupid mistake, he was fired and he gave a genuine apology. Done.
    To go on and on about this is ridiculous.

  25. Francis says

    I wonder if Katherine Jackson intentionally sabotaged Mr. Saxenmeyer.

    To Mark’s credit, he owned up to what he did sincerely. In context, no, it isn’t offensive, but how would readers be able to decipher the context? It’s just not the appropriate place for such a joke. I wish Mark well, hope he finds a job quickly.

  26. says

    I wonder what else was in there that his co-worker actually did delete.

    Regardless, he was being very unprofessional in the workplace and deserved to be fired, joke or not.

  27. Reality says

    It’s unfair to the married couple and especially unfair to their children. Now their children’s names will forever be on the internet because of this stupid joke.

  28. Kevin B says

    Innocent & silly joke.

    Grumpy and depressing reactions.

    Many of you must be really boring to spend time with.

  29. luke says

    i’d like to know the context that actually made this funny, because it really doesn’t seem to funny at all unless it was meant to be sarcastic? something like ‘le gasp, the gays are can actually do nice things for their kids!?’

  30. Sean in Dallas says

    He should have been fired for the inappropriately punctuated “four-years-old.”

    One wouldn’t write, “At only four-inches-long,” now would one?

  31. Fred says

    I’m tired of all these apologies and they don’t change a thing. People are responsible for their words even when they are wrong or in bad taste. This guy is a journalist, what makes what he said OK?

  32. Icebloo says

    If it had been a straight journalist who had done this they would have just issued an apology. I think they used this an excuse to get rid of a gay employee.

    This was just a bit of fun that someone was having at work. We all have fun at work. An apology from him should have been enough. He should have been able to keep his job.

  33. KevinInTexas says

    @ BS pretty sure he just meant when gay guys toss around words like fag or homo – I don’t think he meant ‘nothing is evil when a gay guy says it’

    I don’t think he should have been fired for just this, but I’m not the newspaper, I don’t know if he’s made mistakes in the past or not.

    Where is anyone getting the idea that he’s self-hating?? I think he was just making a dumb joke of how the article is all about them being gay, or making fun of the way some homophobes talk about gay people.

  34. Drew says

    Queens who live in glass cabanas shouldn’t throw their heels.

    Dude made a mistake. I’m not surprised he got fired for it. I don’t blame his employers for firing him. I do think it’s obvious he’s not a self-loathing Republican and I don’t think criticizing him further is productive or even valid.

  35. Lazerlight says

    A lot of times, self hating gays like this news reporter want to be accepted and be seen as ‘cool’ in front of their straight peers, so they proceed to throw the gay community under the bus, or make anti gay jokes or remarks (including referring to gay people as homos or using phrases like “that’s so gay”) it’s their own self hate and insecurity on display. I find gay people like that very troubled. Glad this guy was fired for not having the self respect to realize why a comment like the one who ‘joked’ around about gays was incredibly insulting. Who cares if he’s gay himself? that doesn’t excuse his blatant ignorance.