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Forbes Mistakenly Calls Irish President Gay, Issues Apology


An article that recently appeared on Forbes' website mistakenly labeled Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, "an acknowledged homosexual," The Irish Independent reports:

In an article about Samantha Power, the Irish woman being appointed as US Ambassador to the United Nations, [David] Monagan made a passing reference to President Higgins. He wrote: "The current president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, is a poet, acknowledged homosexual, and nearly as outspoken as his predecessors."

Forbes called the mistake "a serious error" that both they and author David Monagan "sincerely regret." According to The Daily Mail, Monagan attributes the mistake to deadline pressure, calling it "inexcusabe" and the worst mistake of his professional life.

Interestingly, the Mail notes that, "Forbes, which bills itself as a leading source for reliable business news and financial information, uses fact checkers to substantiate stories after individual freelancers submit work for publication."

File this one under, "Oops."

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  1. "the worst mistake of his professional life"

    Yeah because there's NOTHING worse than being labeled gay.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 25, 2013 9:34:50 AM

  2. At least they didn't say he was "an accomplished" homosexual. That would have been worse.

    Posted by: no typos anyway | Jul 25, 2013 9:38:57 AM

  3. No doubt confused him with the gay man that ran for the office but dropped out of the race.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 25, 2013 9:40:23 AM

  4. What a strange story. How do you pull something like that out of thin air?

    I will say this. If Michael D Higgins *is* gay he's someone our community should welcome!

    There is a WONDERFUL recording of his appearance on a radio show hosted by a Tea Party-type pundit and Higgins goes on a blistering tirade about the "politics of fear" that is a wonder to behold! Go to the link and give it a listen. I swear it's worth it!

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 25, 2013 9:47:05 AM

  5. I suspect the error arose because there was a candidate for president of Ireland in their last election, David Norris, who was openly gay and a well-known gay rights activist, and was heavily favored to win, although he didn't.

    Posted by: Hunter | Jul 25, 2013 9:48:05 AM

  6. I take offense with the Authors and the publications statements. It is as if they were numb to their passive homophobia.

    "Forbes called the mistake 'a serious error'"

    "Monagan attributes the mistake to deadline pressure nevertheless calling it 'inexcusabe' and the worst mistake of his professional life."


    Posted by: Jay | Jul 25, 2013 9:52:20 AM

  7. This is an actual question, not a critique, but is "outed" used correctly here? I always thought only closeted gays could be outed, so in this instance I would have written the headline "forbes mistakenly calls Irish president gay" rather than "forbes mistakenly outs irish president." What's the correct use of the term outed?

    Posted by: Brian1 | Jul 25, 2013 10:08:25 AM

  8. So he's not Gay-lick?

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 25, 2013 10:09:06 AM

  9. Yeah they confused him with David Norris, who was defeated in the Presidential election.

    But this President, Michael D. Higgings, would be flattered and complimented by being called a homosexual, though untrue. He is a great patron of public endeavors, the arts and is a poet with published volumes, He has always spokes up for the marginalized and supports marriage equality. And he was one of the most senior members of the Labour Party before running for President.

    But if "Forbes" are so insular and dismissive in its research about small countries , that speaks volumes for a mentality which sees the rest of the world as 'lesser' or insignificant that they don't have to bother giving respect.

    Now where have we gay heard all that before ?
    So f**k you Forbes.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jul 25, 2013 10:09:19 AM

  10. What journalist, outside of right-wing, anti-gay, Teabagistan, uses the term "acknowledged homosexual" in 2013?

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jul 25, 2013 10:14:00 AM

  11. So he's an acknowledged heterosexual?

    Posted by: PeteG | Jul 25, 2013 10:40:57 AM

  12. @TAMPAZEKE The phrase "an acknowledged homosexual" struck me as quintessentially Orwellian.

    Posted by: Bollux | Jul 25, 2013 10:47:55 AM

  13. Will Michael D Higgings be coming to the outing in Lisdoonvarna in Co Clare?

    Posted by: Breda Shannon | Jul 25, 2013 10:53:48 AM

  14. Strange that Forbes did this given their cover-up of the late Malcolm Forbes' homosexuality.

    Posted by: Jeff Atwood | Jul 25, 2013 11:20:47 AM

  15. President Higgins is not gay. But he is a very cool guy!

    Posted by: Jeff | Jul 25, 2013 11:25:34 AM

  16. "This is an actual question, not a critique, but is "outed" used correctly here? I always thought only closeted gays could be outed, so in this instance I would have written the headline "forbes mistakenly calls Irish president gay" rather than "forbes mistakenly outs irish president." What's the correct use of the term outed?"

    You were right, the headline as it stands implies President Higgins is in fact gay. It should have read, "Forbes mistakenly calls Irish President gay"

    I too think the journalist has some suspicious turns of phrase, and apologised in away that implied he was apologising for more than just inaccuracy.

    Posted by: Edward | Jul 25, 2013 11:49:00 AM

  17. There was infact an openly gay man named David Norris who ran for President of Ireland and was favored to win. Not only was he openly gay, but openly Protestant as well.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jul 25, 2013 12:16:00 PM

  18. The offensive thing is not that they incorrectly stated that a happily married heterosexual is gay but that it shows how poor the standard of the journalism in question actually is.

    Let's face it if they cannot get this very simple fact right, how much faith can we put in the accuracy of the rest of the article?

    Posted by: Mundus | Jul 25, 2013 1:51:03 PM

  19. @Dan: it is his worst professional mistake for the same reason that it would be a major mistake to write that Bill Clinton had never been married.

    It's not like there were rumors floating around about surreptitious visits to gay bars either. It came out of nowhere.

    Another instance, in which a "talking head" blew it, was in a broadcast about a guy climbing Mount Everest, with the reporter saying something like, "And the amazing thing is that he's gay. I mean, he's blind." There had probably been a series of sound bites about various homophobic politicians that ended with "he's gay," and force of habit for what follows "he's" took over.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 25, 2013 2:19:47 PM

  20. I know Michael. He is a great man, a scholar and a passionate GLBT advocate (youtube some of his speeches on civil unions in Ireland - the man's a little thunder god). I also know his beloved female wife and his four children. And even the formidable Senator David Norris is not an 'acknowledged homosexual', but an OUT GAY MAN,

    Posted by: Chaz | Jul 25, 2013 2:41:47 PM

  21. He was mistaken for David Norris. Knowing President Higgins and his staunch support for LGBT rights, this is water off a duck's back for him. It really is quite embarrassing for Forbes though.

    Posted by: Cburg | Jul 25, 2013 3:01:29 PM

  22. And Malcolm Forbes was gayer than a same-sex wedding on New Year's Eve!

    Posted by: Daddy's Home | Jul 25, 2013 5:09:39 PM

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