Anthony Weiner Addresses ‘Dyke Comment’ Controversy


Anthony Weiner has responded to a growing controversy over his "lack of moral outrage" after a constituent referred to NYC mayoral contender Christine Quinn as a "dyke."

The controversy started after a brief exchange with a woman whom he was trying to get to sign his mayoral candidacy petition:

“You a registered Democrat?” he asked an elderly woman wheeling a shopping cart by him.

“I am,” she said. “And I’m not voting for uh, what’s her name? The dyke.”

I just need you to sign the petition to get me on the ballot,” said
Weiner, who then noticed the incredulous reaction of a reporter and
added, “and you really shouldn’t talk that way about people.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the woman said.

“It’s okay,” Weiner responded. “It’s not your fault.”

Weiner's campaign released the following statement today after growing pressure from outraged politicians and individuals upset at his response. From the Washington Post:

“Homophobia is vile and destructive and something I have fought against for the entirety of my career, including being a vocal supporter of gay marriage since 1998 and standing up on the floor of Congress for transgender Americans. I admonished the woman amid a large crowd on a street corner and by no means believe that anything about her comment was appropriate. If the impression is that I did, I apologize because behavior like this will absolutely not be tolerated in my administration."

(Photo by Boss Tweed via Flickr.)


  1. Tigerama says

    What was he supposed to do, beat her about the head and shoulders? He told her politely, and I think that kind of approach is always far more long lasting.

  2. Richard says

    I think he acted very appropriately. I think that most people would blow this off, get their signature and get out of there.

  3. Neil says

    What’s next: moral outrage at someone who doesn’t experience moral outrage while reading about the “incident?”

  4. disgusted american says

    well if I lived in NY- Id vote for him..tho actually Id be torn between him and Ms Quinn

  5. Junior says

    I don’t like this. You see people’s true colors when no one is watching, except in his case, unfortunate for him, a reporter was- and exposed potentially someone who is silent when faced with bigotry. Unless there’s a camera around. On second thought, he is fit to be a politician, isn’t he?

  6. Geo NE says

    Yeah, I’ve always thought the best way to see who is a true ally (of any group of people not their own) is to have said person face to face with a bigot spewing bigotry of a group they don’t belong to, and seeing their reaction. I think it’s very telling.

  7. Lisa says

    With all the anti gay hate crimes happening in NYC and a horribly homophobic climate in the city right now, I’m not liking reading this. I don’t much appreciate fair weathered friends who need my vote and play nice to my face but behind our back………..

  8. joe says

    News flash: Weiner doesn’t give a crap about gays or anyone else. He cares only about himself and getting elected. He can’t envision a life for himself that doesn’t involved making decisions for other people through political power.

  9. Fritz says

    Junior and others — he wasn’t silent. He said “You really shouldn’t talk that way about people.” Off the cuff, direct response. I might have said, “That’s an offensive term,” or something like that, but he was definitely not silent. What would you have had him do instead?

  10. Caliban says

    I’ve got to wonder if some of the people posting their “outrage” over this “controversy” in the comments here, commenters who we have never seen before, are paid Quinn staffers.

    I don’t live in NY so it’s of no consequence to me, but from what I’ve read there is plenty of seemingly legitimate criticism out there of Quinn, calling her a DINO and worse. Before his fall from grace Weiner was one of our staunchest allies. I don’t know which I’d choose if I did live there, I’d have to look into the real issues further, but it wouldn’t be cut and dried, just voting for the lesbian because she IS lesbian and dismissing the other guy because he sent out some d!ck pics.

  11. reader says

    He was right to apologize. Leaders shouldn’t “It’s okay. It’s not your fault.” when people call their gay opponents “dyke.” That’s kinda Politics 101, especially in NYC.

  12. says

    Talk about a non-issue. He dealt with it politely and immediately and moved on. Weiner is currently the best option available in the mayoral race.

  13. kaccompany says

    Yes, a person’s immediate reaction IS very telling… and his was to, gently, call her on it. To see this any other way is just plain silly.

  14. Sean says

    He really should have beaten the crap out of her. I hope the Dykes on Bikes aren’t offended. Oops I said dyke.

  15. V-8 says

    I think he meant, when he said it was not her fault, that she was a product of her times and culture…. for me this really is an non-issue… once again, we have bigger enemies…. and perhaps too much free time in our hands?

    look at Turkey and Brazil…. US could be next, if only people let go of their mouse, phone, or remote control and walked out of their homes…

  16. will says

    Maybe “dyke” was being used in a post-modern way to RECLAIM it, like queer.

    If dyke is wrong, queer not wrong. STOP USING QUEER you haters.

    (I mean that. I LOATHE the word queer. It’s a hate word that’s synonymous with sodomite and buggerer)

  17. the other Ken says

    My take on it is that he’s an ally, and I’ll bet that internally he was taken aback, but he had a bigger reason not to admonish her, he needed her signature.

    My partner’s take on it is different. He often tells straight friends that when faced with anti-gay sentiment, it’s their responsibility to say something. It can’t be left to us only.

  18. kit says

    The important thing for me is that he called her out and that she then apologized. Maybe he changed her mind — maybe she will think more about what comes out of her mouth in the future. She apologized for her language because of him. That’s a good thing.

  19. jay_max says

    People are getting bent out of shape over this? WTF?! Wait, can I still say bent?

  20. kdknyc says

    The more people make an issue out of this, the more it makes me confident that I will vote for him. He was run out of office for foolishness that any republican wouldn’t even acknowledge–David Vitter wearing diapers with the hooker, folks? He’s still in the Senate for that one.

    And people are outraged that Weiner didn’t beat this old lady over the head for using the word “dyke”?

    Weiner is a fighter and we all need people like him on the side of the middle class right now.

  21. says

    This shouldn’t have been a controversy in the first place, and the idea that it’s a “growing controversy” now says more about the media and our ludicrous times than it does about Anthony Weiner, who’s been an ally for years and whose reaction was perfectly appropriate.

  22. Michael says

    He did what 99.9999999999% of people WOULDN’T do, which is to say something…..he did the right thing and you could tell it was instinctive for him to do so…I hope Quinn and her campaign don’t make this an issue, because it isn’t. We will see if she really is the better person, or not. I bet she makes a HUGE deal out of it!!

  23. misha says

    Why isn’t anyone carrying a sign stating “I Like Weiner”? It would be so appropriate for this procession, no?

  24. jamal49 says

    Oh, we most certainly need to get a life here. Talk about a non-issue. Look for the smarmy hand of that, uh, Democratic mayoral candidate who happens to be lesbian, Christine Quinn, to keep this “controversy” going. The faux-outrage generated by this is enough to make me reconsider and cast my primary vote for Mr. Weiner.

  25. Mike Ryan says

    His past precludes him. I would never vote for him and I hope others in the gay community wouldn’t do so either.

  26. Derrick from Philly says

    After reading all of your comments I had to go to Yahoo’s search engine and ask, “why do Gay men NOT like Christine Quinn?”

    I kinda’ get it. She turned her back on where she came from. Plus she supports the police department’s tactics every time. But don’t all successful Democratic politicians do that?

    But Weiner has a shady past also, and I’m not talking about the weiner pictures.

    Well, y’all do what y’all have to do up in New YAWK.

  27. anon says

    It’s not a “growing controversy”. Whenever you see that, there’s a rival’s campaign press release behind the headline. Obviously there are no real issues in this campaign, only hardball tactics. Quinn is notorious for her self-serving votes while in City Hall–such as voting herself additional terms in office and large benefit package increases, including what amounted to a retroactive pay increase, and a huge increase in “staff” that will not doubt be useful during the campaign. Weiner is notorious for oddball statements and behavior that have the strong odor of psychological impairment.

  28. jomicur says

    “Homophobia is vile and destructive and something I have fought against for the entirety of my career”…except when I want homophobes to sign my petition. Then I’m cool with it.

  29. anony6 says

    Why did Weiner tell the woman “it’s okay…it’s not your fault”. That is the only thing that bugs me about the exchange. He did not need to publically admonish her, but he also did not need to comfort her homophobia.

    At the end of the day I do think he is and has been a good ally. He would have my support over any republican. But the exchange is an unneeded reminder of vapid politicians.

  30. Profe Sancho Panza says

    There are non-racist politicians who nevertheless accept support and votes from racists, thus benefiting from racism. And there are non-homophobic politicians who nevertheless accept support and votes from homophobes, thus benefiting from homophobia.

    In this case, Weiner is clearly not going to turn away supporters, even if they prefer him to Quinn specifically because she’s a lesbian. In other words, he’s willing to compromise with homophobes to get elected, which probably means that he’d go on compromising with them in office.

  31. estrange says

    I was going to comment here that this is just Towleroad’s continuing attempts to endorse Quinn and was ridiculous, but I see most commenters (thankfully) agree it is ridiculous and his response was appropriate.

    Quinn is gross. I understand the attraction of an openly (how open?) gay (how gay?) mayor of New York, but Quinn seems like a terrible representative. Icky, all around.

  32. Ian says

    I really don’t have any outrage over this story. He expressed to the woman politely that her comment was inappropriate. Nothing more he could do. It’s not like an hour long lecture would educate someone so ignorant. Actually, I’m more outraged that I never got any pics of Anthony’s weiner sent to me on Twitter!

  33. Derek says

    Weiner has been around for a long time and he is not going any where, whether or not he wins the mayoral race. He has always been an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community. Quite frankly there is probably no one else running who has been as much of a supporter of the LGBT community.

  34. Randy says

    He’s two-faced. That may be par for the politician course, but he’s also stupid enough to be caught at it.

  35. tinkerbelle says

    This guy lost his credibility the moment he posted those pictures. His first thought and request after the “dyke” comment was that the lady sign his petition—the reproach came after. It”s all about him; selfish, self-centered… Isn’t it obvious? The guy’s a self-serving creep. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.

  36. Alexander says

    well he’s right, it wasn’t really her fault and she did apologize for talking like that when he addressed her hate speech. it’s the fault of being raised up by bigots in a bigoted society. Prejudice is a learned behavior so he had a point in saying it’s ok it’s not your fault when she apologized.

  37. Bryan says

    I don’t like Quinn, even if she is “family”. She’s on the side of the large corporations and not the people. She has single handedly blocked a simple vote on mandatory sick pay for all workers in New York City for years. New Yorkers don’t need Quinn for mayor.

  38. jamal49 says

    Derrick from Philly, all “controversy” aside.

    Christine Quinn is simply a lousy politician who thinks that she should be selected solely because she is a woman and a lesbian. She has absolutely NOTHING else to offer. No real programs. No specifics.

    She’s been Mayor Bloomberg’s, um, yes-woman for nearly 12 years. She favors real estate interests and have been active in changing NYC zoning laws that have favored wealthy real estate interests at the expense of long-established neighborhoods and business districts that cater to working- and middle-class people.

    She favors the odious “stop and frisk” program of the NYPD that has been used to entrap hundreds and hundreds of young black and latino men for no other reason than that they ARE black and latino.

    Her legislative contributions for the betterment of life in NYC are next to nil.

    In person, she has a very dismissive attitude and is part of the, shall we say, the “lipstick elite”.

    She has sought LGBTQ votes only when it has been in her best interests to do so.

    She is a failed politician and would make a lousy mayor of NYC.

    Anthony Weiner might have had a chance if he hadn’t been so keen on putting his, uh, wiener out there for all to see (not that Weiner’s wiener was all that bad, mind you). But, Anthony needs to give it a rest, stay in the private sector. His credibility has been compromised irrevocably.

    As for the other candidates? Whew! Not much of a choice, I tell you. I had hoped that maybe Ruben Perez, Jr. (not his odious father, the notorious Ruben Perez, Sr.) might have run.

    Let’s face it. NYC is a one-party town with a slew of Democratic party mediocrities mucking up the primary field. This is one time one wishes there might be a decent “moderate” Republican available to run. But there isn’t.

    Once again, it’s going to be holding one’s nose and pulling the lever (in this case, probably for Bill DeBlasio).