Billionaire Donald Sterling is the subject of widespread scorn, disdain, and outrage this weekend after TMZ released a nine-minute audio recording allegedly of the L.A. Clippers owner and his girlfriend arguing — exposing his racist beliefs. Magic Johnson, about whom in part the wealthy couple’s fight centered, condemned Sterling. So did LeBron James, Charles Barkley, and many other public personalities and most of the online world.
The audio, which you can hear in full below, includes a voice alleged to be Sterling, making vile, disgusting, and racist comments about Blacks and Hispanics.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man in the audio, believed to be Sterling, says. “Do you have to?”
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
“I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
Here’s the audio:
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Right now, many are demanding Sterling be sanctioned, many more want him to be forced to sell the Clippers.
But shouldn’t Andrew Sullivan, Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins, AEI fellow Charles Murray, Legal Insurrection blogger William A. Jacobson, former GOP chair Ken Mehlman, Washington Post blogger Eugene Volokh, Slate’s Will Saletan, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, among many others, voice support for Sterling?
Shouldn’t they be rushing to his defense?
They all certainly were defending Brendan Eich just a few weeks ago. Some, in a strange reverse exercise of “hate the sin, love the sinner” act, even this week.
“Intolerance” was the charge Eich’s supporters used to condemn liberals.
Eich of course is — or was — the Mozilla CEO who resigned (some say was forced, Mozilla says not) after a small software startup and a handful of Mozilla employees expressed upset that Eich, a co-founder of Mozilla, had been promoted to CEO after having donated $1000 to support Prop 8 in 2008. Three of Mozilla’s board members resigned, at least two in protest.
Some private citizens expressed their desire that Eich resign, some made a personal decision to boycott Mozilla and remove Firefox from their computers in protest.
No LGBT organization demanded Eich resign. Ever. There was no organized boycott of Mozilla — from LGBT groups (and sorry, OkCupid doesn’t count.) There were boycotts after Eich resigned, protesting his “ouster,” via NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, and the Family Research Council. Peter LaBarbera. RedState. Breitbart. Even Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer got in on the post-resignaton outrage boycott of Mozilla.
But for the most part, while there was an outcry about the decision to promote Eich, there was not widespread organized liberal uprising. The public square, the marketplace, spoke.
And yet weeks later, 58 Republicans and libertarians who say they support same-sex marriage but were so upset by the “illiberal impulse…to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree,” that they signed an open letter of protest attacking liberals who applauded Eich’s resignation.
“Disagreement Should Not Be Punished,” they wrote, adding emphatically that “the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job.”
The freedom—not just legal but social—to express even very unpopular views is the engine that propelled the gay-rights movement from its birth against almost hopeless odds two generations ago. A culture of free speech created the social space for us to criticize and demolish the arguments against gay marriage and LGBT equality. For us and our advocates to turn against that culture now would be a betrayal of the movement’s deepest and most humane values.
Brendan Eich made a very public gesture to be anti-gay. Conservatives insist money is speech. Eich spoke $1000 worth of anti-gay words that are part of the public record, and directly supported ugly efforts to marginalize and disparage gay people.
Donald Sterling was (allegedly) secretly recorded making ugly, racist, and frankly stupid remarks.
Should he be “punished”?
If you think Brendan Eich should still be the CEO of Mozilla, or should not have been the subject of scorn and upset, then you have to support Donald Sterling.
And if not, you really have to ask yourself, what’s the difference, and why?
How are Donald Sterling’s very private (alleged) racist remarks less offensive than Brendan Eich’s very public support of Prop 8? Why should Eich’s “personal beliefs” not be subject to the same disqualification for running an organization as Sterling’s?
Is being racist not acceptable, but being anti-gay acceptable?
Because actively working to deny same-sex couples the right to marry is anti-gay. So is actively supporting having the state legally annul 18,000 same-sex marriages — it’s about as anti-gay as you can get. Both were what Prop 8 was attempting to do.
I think Brendan Eich should have resigned. I think Donald Sterling should be forced to sell the Clippers. I’m very comfortable with both beliefs, and both are in harmony.
What do you think?
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