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04/19/2007


Andrew Sullivan Brings His Brendan Eich Complaints to Stephen Colbert: VIDEO

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Andrew Sullivan brought his argument that Brendan Eich was brought down by the 'gaystapo' (as like-minded conservatives would dub the imaginary group of gay activists conjured in this tale), to the Colbert Report last night where he was given carte blanche to discuss the episode.

Mozilla_colbertWatch the segments below.

A few notes of response to what Sullivan says since Colbert did not offer much.

Gay activists did not get Eich fired. As our Ari Ezra Waldman explains in his piece earlier this week, gay groups were not in this fight - Eich was brought down because he took actions that made him unfit to lead a unique community like Mozilla:

There was no mainstream gay rights organization calling for his head. No one "bullied" Mr. Eich out of Mozilla's headquarters. To say so is an insult to those of us who have been bullied in real life. And no cabal of intolerant gays proclaimed that disagreement with us merits unemployment. That seems to be a bogeyman conjured up in the prolific brain of Andrew Sullivan.

Eich was not being punished for a belief, as Sullivan says. He resigned after it was revealed he took financial action to specifically harm others (the Prop 8 donation) and made it worse by refusing to discuss his actions. It was not a group of gay activists out to "scalp" him as Sullivan would say, for a belief.

As Markos Moulitsas explained so well last week,

"This was Mozilla developers saying they refused to do work with a bigot, private websites blocking access to the Firefox browser because they refused to do business with a bigot, and employees of the firm speaking up because they refused to work for a bigot. In short, it was the free market expressing itself. Eich was perfectly within his rights to stay at Mozilla, but he would then face a hostile market and eventually faced the reality that he couldn't do his job in that environment. The free market spoke, and a free market enterprise was forced to react."

Sullivan says "where I draw the line is when we start targeting individuals for punishment or calling them heretics, or bigots, or haters without giving them a chance to really explain themselves."

But Sullivan did just that a few weeks ago when MSNBC was considering cutting Alec Baldwin for using an anti-gay slur. Michelangelo Signorile noted:

"...this is the same Andrew Sullivan who was first out of the gate with the pitchfork, driving Alec Baldwin off of MSNBC -- as Baldwin bombastically charged that he was the victim of Sullivan and his "fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy." ...

"But if you're going to get worked up over a guy hurling the word "c--ksucker" in the heat of the moment -- while he also gave money and support to the causes of LGBT rights and marriage equality -- you should be completely outraged by a man unapologetically giving money to a hate campaign that helped pass Prop 8 by demonizing gay men and lesbians in television ads charging that gays are dangerous to children. The damage done by those ads is incalculable, turning neighbors in California against one another, empowering anti-gay bullies in schools as well as the bashers on the streets."

Sullivan also brings up the talking point about Obama having the same views as Eich. Jeremy Hooper refuted that point well earlier in the discussion about Eich, writing:

...look, President Obama was certainly wrong on marriage, something he himself now realizes...But the fact of the matter is that the Democratic candidates (and most Dems in general) opposed the abject and unconstitutional nastiness that was and is Proposition 8 because, even when they had yet to come to their current places of support, they knew that altering governing documents for the sole purpose of limiting rights was a bad idea. Mr. Eich apparently felt otherwise.

Watch the segments below:

And here's Sullivan arguing the complete opposite in a discussion with Anderson Cooper about why Alec Baldwin should lose his job because of his anti-gay slurs:


The Fall of Brendan Eich Happened Without Us

By ARI EZRA WALDMAN

Brendan-eich-mozilla-firefox-squareBrendan Eich is no longer the CEO of Mozilla. His tenure was short. But if you believe the media swarm surrounding his quick departure, you would think he left in a blaze of burned bridges and violent protests. I must have missed all that. Mr. Eich was asked to step down because the members of his board of directors made the decision that he could no longer govern their company. That's how boards are supposed to work.

There was no mainstream gay rights organization calling for his head. No one "bullied" Mr. Eich out of Mozilla's headquarters. To say so is an insult to those of us who have been bullied in real life. And no cabal of intolerant gays proclaimed that disagreement with us merits unemployment. That seems to be a bogeyman conjured up in the prolific brain of Andrew Sullivan.

Although this was a legitimate board decision, Mr. Eich did do two things wrong: He took actions that were specifically intended to harm others and he made it worse by refusing to discuss those actions. Those who turned to demonize a straw man of intolerant "gay activists" miss these two facts.

Their argument is essentially about tolerance for evolving opinions and it goes as follows: We cannot punish people for simply disagreeing with us. If we do, we become no better than intolerant conservatives who hate us simply because of who we love. It would have been better to teach Mr. Eich, to sit down with him like mature adults and make our case, thereby showing him that he, like millions of other people, were wrong about us.

Let me say that I agree. I am a proponent of guiding our former opponents on a path toward acceptance with calm, cool rhetoric and a mature approach. I wrote about it here, with respect to Senator Rob Portman's evolution on gay marriage. But it is not clear to me how we can discuss something with someone who refuses to come to the table. Plus, this is not a matter of having differing opinions. Mr. Eich made a jump from having an opinion to taking actions to hurt another group of people. To assert the equivalence of belief and action is not only plain wrong, it is inconsistent with how free speech norms have developed in this country.

This story, then, boils down to three simple facts:

1. Mozilla's Board of Directors did exactly what boards are supposed to do;

2. Mr. Eich took actions that made him unfit to lead a unique community like Mozilla; and

3. Actions have consequences.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Fall of Brendan Eich Happened Without Us" »


Was Brendan Eich 'Scalped by Gay Activists' or Done in By His Willful Donation to a Hate Campaign?

Firefox_eich

As you may have heard, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned yesterday following a week of outrage over revelations he donated to California's hate campaign, Proposition 8, as well as to a number of other controversial right-wing figures.

The episode is inspiring some striking differences in opinion.

SullivanAndrew Sullivan took a strong position in support of Eich last night, accusing gay activists of "hounding a heretic:"

The guy who had the gall to express his First Amendment rights and favor Prop 8 in California by donating $1,000 has just been scalped by some gay activists...Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Right-wingers like Bryan Fischer, Linda Harvey, and Tammy Bruce agree with Sullivan.

SignorileMichelangelo Signorile responds in the HuffPost:

According to Sullivan, the gay mafia has struck again, destroying a man and bringing him down because he would not conform to its thinking. You would be justified in being massively confused by that because this is the same Andrew Sullivan who was first out of the gate with the pitchfork, driving Alec Baldwin off of MSNBC -- as Baldwin bombastically charged that he was the victim of Sullivan and his "fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy."
 ...

But if you're going to get worked up over a guy hurling the word "c--ksucker" in the heat of the moment -- while he also gave money and support to the causes of LGBT rights and marriage equality -- you should be completely outraged by a man unapologetically giving money to a hate campaign that helped pass Prop 8 by demonizing gay men and lesbians in television ads charging that gays are dangerous to children. The damage done by those ads is incalculable, turning neighbors in California against one another, empowering anti-gay bullies in schools as well as the bashers on the streets.

Signorile correctly notes that it wasn't until news came out that Eich had also donated to Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul that he resigned - until then it seemed clear Eich was staying on.

Suddenly, in addition to defending a CEO who gave money to homophobic efforts, Mozilla would have to defend a CEO who supported Buchanan, a far right extremist and isolationist who's been accused of racist and anti-Semitic attacks, and who also was, rightly, driven off MSNBC -- though that took years longer to accomplish than the few weeks it took to purge Alec Baldwin.


Alec Baldwin, Still Bitter Over Gay Slur Incident, Says He's Leaving Public Life

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.

BaldwinBaldwin puts Anderson Cooper, (whom he calls "the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture") and Andrew Sullivan in his sights, as well as Rachel Maddow:

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.”

BaldwinNow Baldwin is very bitter:

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.


Alec Baldwin Blasts 'Fundamentalist Wing of Gay Advocacy', GLAAD and Andrew Sullivan, for His Firing

Alec Baldwin spoke with Gothamist yesterday about his firing from MSNBC and the report in the Post which broke the news.

BaldwinSaid Baldwin:

"There's nothing you can do when you get thrown in this washing machine, nothing. You know? Nothing. All you end up doing is just defending yourself all day long....Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air! I dispute half the comment I made... if I called him 'c--ksucking maggot' or a 'c--ksucking motherf--ker'... 'faggot' is not the word that came out of my mouth. That I know. But you've got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—[GLAAD's] Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they're out there, they've got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself."

GLAAD's Ferraro responded with a statement to Towleroad via email:

"I consider GLAAD's campaigns to end the Boy Scout of America's ban on gay scouts, raise national visibility of the violence and inequality facing transgender people, and battling for marriage equality to be among my 'greatest triumphs.' But if a teacher, coach, local radio show host, or parent realizes that anti-LGBT slurs are outdated and unacceptable because of this Baldwin issue, I guess we'll call it a win. Alec Baldwin's team has not been open to turning this incident into an opportunity for public education and that's unfortunate."


Anderson Cooper, Andrew Sullivan Blast Alec Baldwin for Homophobic Slur: VIDEO

Baldwin_cooper

Anderson Cooper stepped up his criticism of Alec Baldwin in a Monday night segment that also featured blogger Andrew Sullivan, who last week wrote several posts criticizing Baldwin for calling a photographer a "c--ksucking fag".

Watch the segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Said Cooper to his panel:

"If Alec Baldwin had yelled the N word to that photographer or yelled an anti-Jewish slur against that photographer, it would be over. But the F word is a word that kids are called in school every single day. Teachers often do nothing about it."

Added Sullivan:

"And it's important to note that all this stuff is laced with a threat of violence. All of these instances are also about 'I'm going to get you.'"

Watch the segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Baldwin's show was suspended for two weeks by MSNBC over his use of the slur. In a Huffington blog post over the weekend, he defended himself of charges he is a "homophobic bigot", but also couldn't resist a potshot at Anderson, saying:

But if the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it. We do take a small amount of pride in knowing that we beat CNN in the ratings each of our nights. (I forget who they had on at that time.)

Previously...
Gay Hairdresser Defends Alec Baldwin, Says Gays Love Him Even More Now: VIDEO [tlrd]
Alec Baldwin Suspended Two Weeks for Gay Slur [tlrd]
Alec Baldwin Uses His Gay Hairdresser to Prove He's Not a Homophobe [tlrd]
Alec Baldwin Hurls Ugly Anti-Gay Slur at Photographer on NYC Street [tlrd]

Continue reading "Anderson Cooper, Andrew Sullivan Blast Alec Baldwin for Homophobic Slur: VIDEO" »


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