Anderson Cooper Hub
On AC360 tonight, Anderson Cooper confronted Arizona State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Al Melvin about SB 1062, the bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays based on religious beliefs. Constitutional law professor Kenji Yoshino joined the debate and spent the segment rebutting Melvin's arguments.
Melvin either didn't appear to know or didn't want to admit that his state can already fire someone for being gay because sexual orientation is not included in the state's anti-discrimination statutes. Melvin also coiuldn't give an incredulous Anderson Cooper a single instance in which someone has been discriminated against based on their religious beliefs.
"Not now. No. But how 'bout tomorrow?"
Using a hypothetical situation under the proposed law, Anderson went on to ask the Senator if, because Jesus spoke against divorce, he would support a business person who wanted to discriminate against a divorced woman or an unwed mother.
"I think you're being far-fetched with all due respect sir. As a Christian, as most God-fearing men and women would respect unwed mothers, divorced women, who would discriminate them? I've never heard of discriminating against people like that. I never have..."
Melvin's only response was to return to his wingnut talking points:
"All of the pillars of society are under attack in the United States, including religious freedom...We want to protect traditional marriage. Traditional families..."
Finally, Anderson blasts Melvin when he can't say if he believes it is discrimination if someone is fired for their sexual orientation.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
In a lengthy essay in New York magazine, Alec Baldwin rehashes the cascade of events after he used gay slurs (with surprisingly little perspective), pulls up a number of enemies to verbally shoot down, decries the state of American media and entertainment, trashes New York, and announes that he's leaving public life.
Once they fired me, a former MSNBC employee I knew emailed me. He said, “You watch now, Phil is going to start leaking left and right to bury you.” When I left, “Page Six” was flooded with lies about me. Another told me, regarding the “toxic little queen” comment, that Rachel Maddow was the prime mover in my firing, as she was aghast that I had been hired and viewed me as equivalent to Mel Gibson. Another source told me, “You know who’s going to get you fired, don’t you? Rachel. Phil will do whatever Rachel tells him to do.” I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does. I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.
The immediate aftermath of the gay slur incident is also described this way:
I flew to Hawaii recently to shoot a film, fresh on the heels of being labeled a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice. I wanted to speak with a gay-rights group that I had researched and admired, so I called its local Honolulu branch.
The office number turned out to be some guy’s cell phone. I left him a message—I said, “I’m from out of town, I’m visiting Hawaii on business, I’d like to get some information on your group.” After two or three more calls, he answered the phone. I said, “Yeah, I’m the guy that called about your organization.” And he said, somewhat impatiently, “Okay, well, what did you want?” I said, “Well, let me put it to you this way, Nick. Your name is Nick? Nick, let me begin by asking you a question. Who would you say, by your estimation, is the most homophobic member of the entertainment industry currently in the media?” And he paused for a long count of four and said,
“Um … Alec Baldwin?”
And I said, “Ding, ding, ding, ding! Bingo, Nick, bingo! That’s who you’re talking to.”
He said, “C’mon!”
I said, “Nick, I want to come in and talk.”
I met with Nick and others from two LGBT organizations. We talked for a while about the torment of the LGBT life many of them have lived while growing up in traditional Hawaiian families. Macho fathers. Religious mothers. We talked a lot about words and their power, especially in the lives of young people.
One young man, an F-to-M tranny, said, “Are you here to get dry-cleaned, like Brett Ratner?” Meaning I could do some mea culpa, write them a six-figure check, go to a dinner, sob at the table, give a heartfelt speech, beg for forgiveness. I thought to myself: Beg for forgiveness for something I didn’t do?
I said, “No. I don’t want to get dry-cleaned. I don’t want to be decontaminated by you, Karen Silkwood–wise, scrubbed down. I want to learn about what is hurtful speech in your community. I want to participate in some programs about that. Or underwrite one. And then, like you, I just want to be left alone.”
Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They’ve gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they’re going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent.
I’m aware that it’s ironic that I’m making this case in the media—but this is the last time I’m going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.
When this whole thing happened, Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: Your problem is a very basic one, and it’s very common to actors. And that’s when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment. This instinct, even unconsciously, is to make the exchange in front of the camera a dramatic one. Perhaps I fell for that.
Baldwin says he's leaving public life. Will you miss him?
Read the full essay here.
Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe joined CNN's Anderson Cooper and MSNBC's Chris Hayes last night to discuss claims he made last week regarding homophobia at the Minnesota Vikings organization and objections to his gay rights advocacy which eventually led to him being released from the team.
"I made sure that I had witnesses because that's a very easy defamation of character case and it would be pretty easy for him to prevail in a court of law...I am 100% confident in everything I related is how it happened and really encouraged by the fact that the Vikings are taking it seriously and opening an investigation because I think once they talk with people they'll find out what happened."
Anderson noted that the investigation does not have subpoena power so it's up to players to cooperate and asks Kluwe if he thinks players will come forward.
"I'm confident because it's the right thing to do. One thing that I'm going to push for is there must be anonymity for these witnesses because being black-balled in the NFL is a very real possibility and this is not something I'm going to force my friends to submit to..."
Said Kluwe to Hayes about the possibility of an openly gay player coming out sometime soon:
"This doesn't just happen to me. This happens to millions of people across the country. But things are getting better. Progress is being made. At the same time, we can't just be content with the progress that's been made. We have to strive for more progress so that when that player does come out they know that they have support..."
Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP...
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— The hunky host of The Soup Joel McHale returns to Greendale Community College on NBC's Community Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Series creator Dan Harmon is also back at the helm.
More picks and clips, including what to watch on New Year's Eve, AFTER THE JUMP...
Dan Savage stopped by Anderson Cooper's CNN show last week to weigh in on the Duck Dynasty controversy and his thoughts on why Phil Robertson isn't getting as much blowback for the racist comments he made in the now-infamous GQ interview as he did for the anti-gay remarks.
I actually thought what he said about African-Americans in the South under Jim Crow was so much more offensive. At a time when an African-American looked funny at a white person they could be lynched, oddly enough he never heard any of them complaining to him about the circumstances...but this is America and sex is [something] we'd rather be talking about than race or anything else. So the fact that he invoked gay people's rear ends means that's going to be the conversation instead of the really patently offensive, absurdly revisionist things he said about African-Americans."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...