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Satirical Cartoonists Fined For Magazine Cover Suggesting Turkish President Is Gay

Ozer Aydogan and Bahadir Baruter, two Turkish cartoonists working for the satirical paper Penguen, have been slapped with significant fines for creating a caricature of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, suggesting that he’s gay.

Penguen_erdogan_kapakThe two artists penned a front page picture for the magazine’s August issue last year depicting the president meeting with a governmental official while making a an ‘O’ with his free hand near his groin. The gesture, according to Hurriyet Daily News, is commonly associated with gay men and is often used to insult other people.

The artists’ trial went to court earlier this month and within days both were charged with 14-month stints in prison. Because of their civil behavior in court, the initial charges were lowered once down to 11 months and 20 days and then once again to 7,000 Turkish Lira.  

Though neither of the cartoonists were present for their trials, they’ve explained publicly that the intention behind depicting Erdoğan making the symbol wasn’t to draw attention to his sexuality, but rather to highlight how his office had made a habit of harassing journalists and other critics.

In 2006 Erdoğan sued Penguen for some 40,000 Lira for publishing a cover in which he was depicted as a number of different animals. Erdoğan has also gone after slightly less high-profile figures, threatening a former Miss Turkey winner for criticizing him on Instagram and sending police to the house of a teenager who tweeted his negative opinions of the president.


CNN And Local Michigan CBS Affiliate Broadcast Transphobic Segment On Planet Fitness: VIDEO

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CNN and WNEM, a Michigan-area CBS affiliate, have been doing their part to prove that oftentimes the media doesn’t know the first thing about how it should talk about trans-identified people.

Earlier this week we brought you the story of Yvette Cormier, a Midland, Michigan woman who took it upon herself to harass and badger Carlotta Sklodowska, a transgender member of her local Planet Fitness gym. After mistakenly identifying the transwoman as a man, outing the woman to other gym members, and attempting to have the woman kicked out of the gym, Cormier found herself banned from the location for violating Planet Fitness’s “No Judgement Zone” policy.

In a recently produced local television segment WNEM reporter Gino Vicci sat down with Cormier to hear her side of the story and allow her the space to make her arguments. Unsurprisingly, her justifications smack of transphobia and hostility.

“I was stunned and shocked,” Cormier said of the first time she saw the transwoman. “He totally looked like a man. He was not dressed like a woman at all.”

FitnessThe real issues at hand with the segment are WNEM’s questionable production and CNN’s decision to rebroadcast the footage nationally. Throughout WNEM’s original coverage, Vicci retells Cormier’s story and repeatedly refers to the harassed transwoman as a ‘man.’ In addition to Cormier the segment includes opinions from three other Midland Planet Fitness patrons asked to weigh in on Cormier’s expulsion. The specific question Vicci asked patrons was worded so as to deny the validity of a trans-person’s assertion of their gender identity:

“We asked them if they would be comfortable with sharing the locker room with the opposite sex or at least the appearance of the opposite sex.”

HASSELBECKThe responses, as one might expect, were resoundingly negative. As easy as it would be to write off their comments as being borne out of a small-town, conservative mindset, there is something to be said for the way that journalists handle stories like this. In many ways Fox News’s approach to the story has been similar to WNEM’s. In a recently aired episode of Fox & Friends Elisabeth Hasselbeck repeatedly misgenders Sklodowska and gives credence to the opinions of Dr. Keith Ablow, a frequent Fox contributor who purports to be a psychiatrist but spent most of his time on-air spouting nonsense.

“It's tough to speak about because we're so politically correct now that we get tongue tied. We can't say the obvious, which is this is craziness,” said Albow. “You're kicking out members because they feel uncomfortable that someone who seems to be a man to them and is genetically is looking at them naked when they're unclothed as women? That's craziness.”

While this sort of rhetoric has become the hallmark of much of Fox’s reporting on LGBT issues, the larger story highlights the power that verbal violence against trans-people can have. Gino Vicci has since made half-hearted apologies for repeatedly identifying Sklodowska as a man, but WNEM’s continued coverage of the local Planet Fitness has turned the gym’s decision to stand up for trans-rights into a cause for alarm.

Since WNEM’s first transphobic segment, station reporters have gone back to the gym to gather opinions from other people, but the damage of introducing the story as a man’s intrusion into the women’s locker room has already been done. We could all stand to learn from WNEM’s example and try harder to better share stories focusing on trans lives to more productive ends.

Watch the original segment from WNEM reporter Gino Vicci and the Fox & Friends discussion, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Roy Moore Tries to School President Obama on the Legality of Gay Marriage in Alabama: VIDEO

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Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace today to discuss same-sex marriage's arrival in Alabama. While Moore spent most of the interview attempting to explain the legal underpinnings of his continued fight against marriage equality, he also had a response message for President Obama - who spoke up about the reincarnated George Wallace during a recent Buzzfeed interview.

Said Moore:

"But what this Harvard professor who is president of the United States does not understand, is that a trial court’s decision on the constitutionality of a federal question is just that — it’s an opinion. It may be law of the case before her. It is not overturning the Alabama constitution. Federal law is not made by judges."

Wallace also asked Moore whether or not he would abide by the Supreme Court should it decide this year that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Mayor Of Paris Announces Plans To Sue Fox News: VIDEO

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Between giving bigot Bill Donohue a platform to spout his hatred and glibly comparing a fight for LGBT rights to the abominable attack on Charlie Hebdo, Fox News has done anything but handle political discussion around Paris, France with the objective professionalism one would expect from a station that dares call itself a "news" source. In fact, their coverage has reached such an offensive point that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced plans to sue the media giant.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour broke the news over Twitter:

BREAKING: Paris is going to sue @FoxNews after image of Paris was “insulted” and “prejudiced,” Mayor @Anne_Hidalgo tells me.

— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) January 20, 2015

And Hidalgo further expressed her disdain to her followers:

Je suis bien sûr choquée par la bêtise stigmatisante de Fox News : @BilldeBlasio et moi irons d'ailleurs dans le 19e cet après-midi

— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) January 20, 2015

Which roughly translates as: "I am of course shocked at the stigmatizing stupidity of Fox News. Bill DeBlasio and I will be at the 19th [District] this afternoon."

You can watch an interview between Amanpour and Hidalgo on CNN Money AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mayor Of Paris Announces Plans To Sue Fox News: VIDEO" »


FOX News' Bret Baier: I Pulled Out of Anti-Gay Catholic Conference Because It Doesn't 'Line Up With the Loving Church I Know'

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As we've been reporting, the rabidly anti-gay Catholic group Legatus found itself at the center of a controversy after activist and Good As You blogger Jeremy Hooper highlighted the extreme and disturbing views held by the organization including labeling same-sex attraction as a disorder and recommending conversion therapy. As a result, three individuals slated to headline the group's annual conference, actor Gary Sinise, Fox News anchor Bret Baier and MoltonCoors Chair Pete Coors all pulled out of the event. 

At the time of Baiers' withdrawal, Fox News released a statement saying Baier "was unaware" of anti-gay articles published by Legatus' magazine or "the controversy surrounding them.” 

Now, in an email addressed to hatemonger Peter La Barbera of Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality, Baier confirms that while Fox did ask him to pull out of the event, he also backed out due to his own views on sexual orientation and faith, views that for Baier are diametrically opposed to Legatus':

I pulled out of the speech at Fox’s request — because of the controversy surrounding some of these articles and editorials that have been published in the Legatus magazine [...]

I am a lifelong mass attending Catholic – I’m a lector at my parish. I consider myself to be in line with my Church on most things. This isn’t about me.. but, describing homosexuality as a ‘disorder’ and talking about ways to ‘cure’ people from it – does not seem to line up with the loving, accepting Church that I know. Nor does it match up with how Pope Francis has talked about the issue recently. 

I couldn’t speak because of that – I don’t wish the group any harm, but after Gary Sinise pulled out.. as a newsman, Fox agreed that I could not be surrounded by that controversy… as much as I would have loved to have talked about my book, my faith, and my son’s battle with congenital heart disease. 

That is the truth. 

I hope you and others can understand. If not.. I wish you well with your viewing. 

Peter LaBarbera meanwhile was none too pleased with Baier's response, blasting Fox News for "directly [financing] and [sponsoring] pro-”gay” media events that promote homosexual behavior and ideology–including same-sex 'marriage'–condemned by the Catholic Church." 

[h/t Jeremy Hooper]


Tucker Carlson: If Duke Wants to Be 'Inclusive', Give Equal Time to Anti-Gay Evangelicals

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Last week, Duke University reversed a plan to allow Muslim students to hold a weekly call-to-prayer from the school's chapel bell tower and relocated it instead to the chapel's quadrangle after what it said were potential safety threats. Duke had offered the bell tower to the students in order to send a message of inclusivity.

On FOX & Friends Saturday, Tucker Carlson chimed in about the controversy, taking a whack at Duke for its policies:

"There's nothing inclusive about Duke. Notice they're not giving equal time to, say, evangelical pro-life messages. They're not broadcasting those from the loudspeakers on the chapel. If you got in the middle of the Duke quad and read sections of the Bible that criticized homosexuality, you'd be dragged away by school security...They're not inclusive, they're making a political statement about how they're on the side of Muslims!"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tucker Carlson: If Duke Wants to Be 'Inclusive', Give Equal Time to Anti-Gay Evangelicals" »


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