A local South Carolina lawmaker has been outed as gay by a blogger who himself made news when he claimed to have had an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Republican Nikki Haley weeks before she was elected Governor. Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon told her colleagues, “Yes, I’m gay,” adding, “I don’t think that’s a sex scandal in 2013,” according to The Post And Courier:
The website Fits News, on which the story ran, features a mix of political news, insider political gossip and photographs of scantily clad women.
Condon said the story suggested she was engaged in an adulterous relationship that could bring discredit on the county or Charleston County Council. But that isn’t true, she said.
She was married for 15 years, she said. She and her ex-husband separated amicably in 2011. They have since divorced and share custody of their son. The relationship in which she currently is involved did not begin until she and her ex-husband were legally separated, she said.
County Council chairman Teddie Pryor dismissed as unimportant Condon’s comments, which she made at the end of a Finance Committee meeting during time set aside for individual council members’ comments.
“That’s your business,” Pryor told Condon.
Fit news, whose tag line is, “Unfair. Imbalanced.,” is run by Will Folks, also known, apparently, as “Sic Willie.”
The offending blog post, “HOLY CITY SEX SCANDAL: SOMEBODY CUE THE INDIGO GIRLS, PEOPLE …,” claimed “Condon has separated from her husband, moved into a new house and begun openly practicing what we’re told is a longtime lesbian relationship.”
Which Condon says is incorrect.
As do many of the comments from Folks’ own readers on his blog post. A few excerpts:
To call this a “scandal” is absurd. Collleen is: 1) divorced; 2) before that was separated for over a year; and 3) did not date anyone until well after she was separated. No one here cares who this divorced woman is dating.
She is my councilmember – I don’t always agree with her but she seems to be one of the few who actually gets things done. I could care less who she is dating.
I did something that Sic Willie could have done if he had spent 30 more seconds on it – I went to the clerk of courts website and looked it up, she is divorced as of a few months ago; she had been separated for about six months before that (at least through court documents). She is by far not the only gay politician in SC, although maybe the only Democrat.
This is what u call a scandal?? That someone has separated/divorced and is dating someone else! Guess we don’t have enough real news for u guys this week so you thought u would make some up! Who cares who is dating who, what business is it of yours to put her personal life out in the street? Its not like she is having an affair! And it’s bad form to “out” someone, especially someone with a child! Now you are messing with lives that did not choose to be in the public eye.
Its a “scandal” because Fits has a thing about lesbians ,his alleged “libertarian” principles notwithstanding.Truth is Fits is pretty much your standard Right Wing SC Republican.
How this is newsworthy is beyond me!! Who cares who Ms. Condon is dating? Does it impact her ability to serve the people of her district or Charleston County? No. She’s one of the most honest and hard working members of council.
It’s not like she abandoned her post and went hiking the ‘Applachian Trail’ in Brazil! Let’s be real. Sounds more like misogny than scandal to me. For shame.
Folks, it turns out, was profiled by the Columbia Journalism Review last year:
On most days, you will find Will Folks, aka “Sic Willie”—South Carolina’s blogger provacateur, the prolific force behind FITSNews.com and that Nikki Haley story—where you’d least expect him: in a nice home on a quiet, well-kept street in Columbia, the state capital. He works out of a tidy office lined with vintage baseball cards and his kids’ art projects; the sign on his office door features a construction paper giraffe and reads, with complete innocence, “Jo’s Zoo.”
Political junkies may remember Folks from May 2010, when, two weeks before South Carolina’s gubernatorial primary, he announced on his blog that in 2007 he had had an “inappropriate physical relationship” with Haley, the Tea Party favorite for whom he had once done communications work (and whom he supported in the governor’s race).
Haley promptly denied the claim, calling it “categorically and totally false,” and Folks was accused of setting a new low in dirty politicking—breaking news of a scandal andstarring in it—in the state best known for dirty politics. His web traffic spiked, but few people, particularly in the press, believed him—a fact Folks chalks up to a smear campaign unleashed against him.
In person, Folks exhibits a startling candor and openness. He volunteers that he had a well-deserved “reputation” while working as an aide to Sanford. “I drank too much, I hooked up with lots of girls,” he admits. (He also, at one point, pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge.) It’s a canny, charming approach that creates the impression that he is earnest and utterly credible. After spending the day with Folks—and hearing him press his account of the Haley ordeal repeatedly—I’m inclined to believe him. (And yes, my editors shivered when reading that last phrase.)
Folks adamantly resists the label of “reporter” or “journalist”; his site’s tagline—“Unfair. Imbalanced.”—is a boastful repudiation of professional journalistic norms. It’s a pose that allows him to push his own political views (fiscal conservatism, Ron Paul) and embrace his shock jock, frat-boy side (he frequently posts photographs of women in bikinis; not long into my visit, he opens up a picture that a woman has sent him displaying her shelf of cleavage).
Pretty sure the sex scandal — or lack thereof — was the Nikki Haley-Will Folks claim, not that someone is a lesbian. Because I don’t think that’s a sex scandal in 2013 either.
Image of Councilwoman Colleen Condon via Facebook
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