‘New Atlantis’ Authors Follow in Fraudulent Footsteps of Paul Cameron, George Rekers, Mark Regnerus
The New Civil Rights Movement’s Robbie Medwed recently called attentionÂ to a newÂ anti-LGBT â€œstudyâ€ that appeared in The New Atlantis, which describes itself as a â€œJournal of Technology and Society,â€ and which is published by the anti-gay Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Roman Catholic organization.
As Medwed reported, the â€œstudyâ€ â€” â€œSexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,â€ by Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh (pictured) â€” purports to show that there is no evidence that people are born gay, or that transgender kids are more successful when treated with compassionate and inclusive care.
After documenting the long record of anti-gay activism of its authors and publishers, Medwed points out that the new â€œstudyâ€ comes with a slick video, which suggests that â€œfar right-wing monied interests are behind it.â€
Indeed, the â€œstudyâ€ has already been widely publicized in right-wing circles, from The Federalist andÂ The National ReviewÂ to The Daily Signal and Breitbart, and has been acclaimed by homophobic ideologues such as Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel, who sent out an email promoting it, absurdly proclaiming that, â€œScientific Research Debunks LGBT Propaganda.â€
Actually, the “study” has little to do with real scientific research. Rather, it is a prime example of anti-LGBT pseudoscience.
The purpose of the â€œstudyâ€ is not to further knowledge or advance scientific understanding. It would never have been accepted by a respectable academic journal.
This kind of publication has no influence on real science, for despite its accoutrements of scholarship â€” graphs, footnotes, bibliography, etc. â€” it is actually a parody of real research. Its conclusions were reached before the investigation even began. The researchers cherry-picked evidence, which they then assembled to support the preordained conclusions.
The purpose of this kind of junk science is not to persuade the scholarly community, which will immediately note its sloppy methodology and dismiss it out of hand. Instead, it is produced to provide naÃ¯ve readers some quasi-respectable justifications for their prejudices and to fuel social conservative political chatter. (Any “study” that is simultaneously acclaimed by the likes of Matt Staver, Ryan Anderson, Austin Ruse and Maggie Gallagher may safely be presumed to be dishonest.)
The pseudoscience produced by right-wing ideologues is targeted toward people who are more interested in the confirmation of their biases than in the truth. They live in a fact-free world and lack the willingness or ability to distinguish real science from propaganda dressed up to look like science.
This kind of junk science also serves the purpose of providing other producers of junk science something to quote and cite as they also manufacture facsimiles of scholarship.
Thus, the Mayer-McHugh â€œstudyâ€ will soon be quoted with approval on the National Organization for Marriage blog and the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) website (which has recently and cynically been renamed the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity), as well as by the â€œexpertsâ€ at such hate groups as the American Family Association, Focus on the Family and Family Research Council as they prepare their own anti-LGBT pseudoscience to be circulated in the same echo chamber that is the conservative blogosphere.
The Status of Anti-LGBT Pseudoscience
Traffic in anti-LGBT pseudoscience has a long and ignoble history, but it has existed in a curious and increasingly defensive position since the work of UCLA psychologist Evelyn HookerÂ in the 1950s and 1960s challenged the assumption that homosexuals are necessarily psychiatrically disordered. Her research demonstrated that the patterns of homosexuality are as varied and as complex as those of heterosexuality and that one cannot distinguish homosexuals from heterosexuals on the basis of emotional and psychological adjustment.
Although the research studies by Hooker and colleagues who reached similar conclusions were fiercely contested by those who had a great deal invested in the sickness theories of homosexuality, her position prevailed and eventually became the accepted scientific view. It ultimately led to the rescinding of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders in 1973.
Since then a host of other scientific studies have replicated Hooker’s conclusions and extended them in a variety of areas. For example, numerous studies have verified that same-sex couples are as capable parents as opposite-sex couples. They have also documented the failure and dangers of attempts to change sexual orientation.
In reaction to the scientific consensus that emerged in the 1970s and has solidified ever since, anti-LGBT professionals retreated from mainstream scientific organizations and formed their own groups, such as NARTH and the deceitfully named American College of Pediatricians (as distinguished from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a major professional organization).
In addition, in response to the modest political gains made by the early gay liberation movement, an entire industry of anti-LGBT hate groups emerged. Often affiliated with the Christian right or with particular religious denominations, they often cloak their anti-LGBT agenda by adopting names that include â€œChristianâ€ or â€œfamilyâ€ or â€œchildrenâ€ or â€œmarriage.â€ They raise money by defaming LGBT people and are often aligned with more established and well-financed right-wing groups such as the Heritage Foundation.
These organizations are the principal purveyors of anti-LGBT pseudoscience in the United States. They perpetuate myths and stereotypes and lies in the name of religion, the preservation of “traditional values,” and conservative politics.
Three producers of pseudoscience â€” Paul Cameron, George Rekers, and Mark Regnerus â€” are profiled below. Their modi operandi help illuminate how this genre of deceit is manufactured and the obstacles posed by pseudoscience to the pursuit of equality.
One of the leading practitioners of anti-LGBT pseudoscience is the charlatan Paul Cameron, who has made a career of gay-bashing. Not only does he campaign against LGBT rights and call for the criminalization of homosexual acts, but he also attempts to buttress his dark view of homosexuality with â€œstudiesâ€ that link homosexuality with child abuse and a reduced life expectancy.
Cameron has the distinction of having his work condemned by the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association and the Canadian Psychological Association, among others.
Cameron’s Family Research Institute, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, takes as its mission the generation of â€œempirical research on issues that threaten the traditional family, particularly homosexuality,â€ though its research is merely the repackaging of his prejudices.
A number of real scholars have demonstrated how Cameron has manipulated his data in various ways to reach the dubious conclusions that he asserts.
Because of Cameron’s â€œcontinued demonization of LGBT people and the shoddy and suspect research methods he uses to advance his claims,â€ the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Family Research Institute an â€œanti-gay hate group.â€Â
In 2012, Cameron appeared on David Pakman’s talk show to discuss President Barack Obama’s support for same-sex marriage and to spew a great deal of misinformation.
Despite its having been condemned by mainstream academic associations, and thoroughly discredited by legitimate researchers, Cameron’s junk science is routinely cited by anti-gay authors and crusaders as they compile their own pseudoscience. It has even been cited in court decisions, as in a dissent in the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in 2003, and in the majority decision by the Florida Supreme Court that upheld the state’s prohibition on adoption by same-sex couples in 2004.
Another practitioner of pseudoscience who has recently been exposed is George Rekers, who was one of the founders of Focus on the Family, a viciously anti-gay activist group, and a former officer of the ex-gay organization, NARTH.
Rekers has published a number of books extolling reparative therapy and received large funds for his anti-gay testimony as an â€œexpert witnessâ€ in a number of high-profile court cases in which he testified that homosexuality is destructive and that gay people are unfit parents.
Rekers’ fall came in 2010, when he was discovered to have employed a male escort as a traveling companion on a trip to Europe. Although he protested that the escort was his â€œbaggage handler,â€ when it was revealed that the young man was hired from the Rentboy website, Rekers’ reputation was destroyed. An ordained Southern Baptist minister, Rekers was exposed as a hypocrite. His fellow bigots in the anti-gay and ex-gay movement quickly distanced themselves from him.
But the biggest exposure of Rekers as a purveyor of pseudoscience (rather than merely a hypocrite) came later that year.
In a riveting example of investigative journalism, Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin excavated the heartbreaking real story of Kirk Murphy, who as a 5-year-old effeminate boy was subjected to treatment by Rekers when he was a graduate student at UCLA.
Rekers later used the story of his â€œsuccessfulâ€ treatment of Murphy as the basis of his doctoral dissertation and, indeed, of his career. He frequently cited it as proof that homosexuality can be â€œcuredâ€ and used it to justify the practice of reparative therapy.
The story of â€œKraig,â€ as Kirk Murphy was referred to in Rekers’ publications, was offered again and again as an example of how early intervention with â€œsissy boysâ€ could prevent the development of homosexuality in them.
Burroway, however, discovered that Murphy had committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 38 after a life-long struggle with his sexuality. Far from having been â€œcuredâ€ of homosexuality, as Rekers and other reparative therapists had repeatedly claimed, Murphy was tormented by the treatment he received as a child.
A homosexual who was never able to form a lasting relationship with anyone, Murphy suffered depression and anxiety as a result of his experience.
The story of Murphy not only exposed the fraudulent claims made by Rekers and other therapists who profess to cure homosexuality, but it also graphically illustrated the lasting damage inflicted by such dangerous therapy.
Burroway’s investigation was the inspiration for a story featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 called â€œSissy Boy Experiments,â€ which reached a large audience and served to discredit the ex-gay movement.
One of the most audacious examples of anti-LGBT pseudoscience is sociologist Mark Regnerus’ 2012 â€œstudyâ€ titled â€œHow Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings of the New Families Structure Study,â€ which was published in Social Science Research and purported to prove that the children of gay and lesbian parents have adverse outcomes.
Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas, had achieved something that most purveyors of pseudoscience these days do not. He managed to place his work in a supposedly peer-reviewed journal.
The â€œstudyâ€ was immediately embraced by opponents of same-sex marriage, but serious scholars noted its flawed methodology and quickly dismissed its conclusions.
They also became suspicious that the â€œstudyâ€ was not just poor scholarship, but, rather, a desperate and deliberate attempt to smear gay and lesbian parents and thereby provide a â€œrationalâ€ justification for courts to deny equal marriage rights.
That suspicion was stoked not only by the obvious methodological problems but also by the article’s unusually quick acceptance by the journal â€” five weeks from submission to acceptance, while submissions typically take over a year to be accepted â€” and by its unusually generous funding by anti-gay sources.
The â€œstudyâ€ was funded to the tune of almost $800,000 by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, both organizations actively opposed to marriage equality. The notorious Princeton philosophy professor Robert P. George, who drafted the Manhattan Declaration and is a founder of the National Organization for Marriage, sits on the boards of both institutions.
As a result of loud protests by social scientists, some 200 of whom signed a letterÂ alleging that the paper could not have survived a rigorous review process, the editor of Social Science Research, James D. Wright, was pressured to appoint an auditor to review the way the paper was handled before being accepted for publication.
The auditor, Darren E. Sherkat, a member of the journal’s editorial board, foundÂ that â€œthe peer-review process failed to identify significant, disqualifying problemsâ€ with the paper. He also found conflicts of interest among the reviewers; stated that â€œscholars who should have known better failed to recuse themselves from the review processâ€; and criticized the author’s use of scholarship to push a political agenda.
In an interview, Sherkat described the paper succinctly: â€œIt’s bullshit,â€ he said.
Documents obtained by The American Independent and NCRM contributor Scott Rose through the Freedom of Information Act later confirmed that Regnerus was funded in order to impugn the parenting skills of same-sex couples in judicial proceedings. The documents revealed that the Witherspoon Institute enlisted Regnerus to undertake the â€œstudyâ€ in order to influence anticipated Supreme Court deliberations on same-sex marriage.
The documents also revealed that Regnerus had consistently lied about the participation of Witherspoon Institute officials in the â€œstudy.â€
Regnerus’s â€œstudyâ€ was indeed cited in briefs filed in the judicial proceedings that ultimately culminated in the Supreme Court landmark Obergefell ruling of June 26, 2015 that led to marriage equality throughout the nation, but by then attorneys for marriage equality could cite the denunciations of the â€œstudyâ€ by leading academics and even the American Sociological Association and the Sociology Department of the University of Texas, where Regnerus teaches.
Regnerus himself testified in the Michigan marriage trial, DeBoer v. Snyder, the first full-length trial of fact on the subject of same-sex marriage after Judge Vaughn Walker’s historic Proposition 8 trial in 2010.
During the trial, Regnerus was forced to admit on cross-examination that his â€œstudyâ€ actually said nothing cogent about the parenting abilities of same-sex couples. He also was forced to admit that his opposition to same-sex marriage was “faith-based” and had nothing to do with whether same-sex couples were good parents.
Moreover, Regnerus’s testimony was countered by such leading scholars as Harvard historian Nancy Cott, Stanford University sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, UCLA demographer Gary Gates and University of Michigan law professor Vivek Sankaran, scholars who pursue real reseach not pseudoscience.
In his opinion, handed down on March 21, 2014, invalidating Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, Judge Bernard Friedman eviscerated the testimony of Regnerus, which he found â€œentirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration.â€ The judge not only found Regnerus’s fraudulent “study” flawed on its face, but he also correctly perceived it as hack work intended to deceive rather than to contribute to science. â€œThe funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged,â€ Friedman observed dryly.
A Dangerous, Ongoing Assault
Pseudoscience is dangerous for many reasons. While it may be tempting to dismiss someone like Cameron as a crackpot, his work, as absurd as it is, has been repeatedly used to confuse and manipulate the naÃ¯ve and to reassure the bigoted. It is routinely cited in other works of pseudoscience and even in legal briefs. Indeed, as the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, Cameron’s “ludicrous statistics are frequently referenced in sermons, news broadcasts, politicians’ speeches and even court decisions.”
Although now discredited as the hypocrite and fraud that he is, Rekers managed to build a prosperous career on the backs of vulnerable children. As a highly paid â€œexpert witnessâ€ in court cases involving the neediest of childrenâ€”those seeking families to adopt them â€” Rekers was willing for a price to argue that prospective same-sex parents were necessarily unfit.
The exposure of the tragic consequences of Rekers’ â€œtreatmentâ€ of â€œsissy boyâ€ Kirk Murphy should remind us of the real-life consequences of pseudoscience for LGBT people. The number of people who have been driven to depression and even suicide as a result of reparative therapy can only be imagined.
The academic fraud perpetuated by Regnerus and his paymasters may not have succeeded in the way they hoped, but they managed to corrupt the system of scholarly publication, including the peer review process itself. Luckily, Regnerus’s â€œstudyâ€ was quickly debunked, but neither he nor the editor of Social Sciences Review or those who colluded in the fraud have been held to account for their disgraceful actions.
Moreover, even though the Regnerus “study” has been debunked, it has nevertheless been used to justify discriminatory legislation both in the United States and abroad, including Russia, where it inspired laws prohibiting adoption by LGBT people and a billÂ mandatingÂ the removal of children from the custody of homosexual parents.
Opponents of equality have shown little scruple as they have resorted to behavior that is unethical and disgusting. Their penchant for lying about our lives says far more about them than about us.
It is sad but necessary to observe that many â€” perhaps most â€” of the groups and individuals who so regularly produce or promote anti-LGBT pseudoscience are religious. They seem to think that they have a special dispensation to lie about and defame us in the name of their religious beliefs. Quite apart from the fact that “bearing false witness” violates the tenets of their religion, their strategy is self-defeating, for their unethical behavior alienates not only LGBT people but many of their co-religionists as well.
We need to be suspicious of so-called â€œstudiesâ€ of homosexuality and LGBT people. We need to ask hard questions about publishers and authors and funding agencies before accepting scholarship as legitimate. As David Hart has observed in his blog The Slowly Boiled Egg, â€œResearch is published to double-blind peer reviewed scholarly journals. Everything else is bullshit.â€
The dissemination of anti-LGBT pseudoscience also needs to be seen as part of the larger assault on science that has occurred in the country recently. Corporations routinely attempt to buy influence in the hiring of university faculty and in shaping research agendas by funding pet projects and preventing research in areas like climate change or industrial pollution. Truth itself has increasingly become negotiable as conspiracy theories abound and a gullible public seems willing to believe the most outrageous assertions.
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Charlie Kirk, Purveyor of ‘Rigged’ Election Lie, Complains GOP Lost ‘Because a Lot of People Do Not Trust the System’
Far right wing activist Charlie Kirk complained on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show Tuesday that many Republicans in Arizona lost their elections earlier this month because they “do not trust” the election system. Kirk is a purveyor of Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” and has repeatedly promoted the false claim that U.S. elections are “rigged.”
“400,000 people that showed up for Donald Trump or voted for Donald Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election,” Kirk told his audience. (NCRM has not verified these numbers and could find nothing to support the claim.)
“Now, I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system,” Kirk claimed.
Why does Charlie Kirk believe “a lot of people do not trust the system”?
Because he told them not to. Over and over and over again.
In January on his show Kirk hosted Mollie Hemingway, the editor in chief of The Federalist, a right wing website founded by Ben Domenech and Sean Davis. The Federalist has been a purveyor of false election claims, according to Reuters, which reports the claims “are presented inaccurately.” Twitter had to append a “cautionary label” to a Federalist tweet after The Federalist wrongly stated, “Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Michigan, Wisconsin, And Pennsylvania,” according to The Daily Beast.
Hemingway is also the author of the book, “Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.”
The title of that episode of The Charlie Kirk Show? “Why Conservatives Can’t Turn Our Backs on Rigged Elections with Mollie Hemingway.”
(The Federalist was also cited by The New England Journal of Medicine for belong create a “superspreader” event of false information about the effectiveness of masks in the fight against COVID-19.)
In April Kirk hosted right wing activist David Bossie, president of the political lobbying group Citizens United, and a former Trump 2016 campaign official.
The title of that episode?
Kirk likes the word “rigged.” On Twitter he’s used it a lot to suggest that the U.S. elections are “rigged.”
“The same people who spent the last 4 years falsely saying Russians rigged our elections are now saying there’s no way an election could be rigged by illegal ballots and voter fraud. How does that work?” (Nov 6, 2020)
“BREAKING: A mail carrier was just charged with attempted election fraud after changing party affiliations on mail-in ballots Still think there aren’t any issues with rigged elections due to mail-in voting? RT so the media has to report on the DANGERS of mail-in voter FRAUD!” (Apr 16, 2020)
“Democrats should be livid. This is a rigged game to protect the ruling class Thank goodness the GOP is a true grassroots party where ANY voice or person can win Democrats corruption will not allow fair or free elections” (Feb 4, 2020)
Or this tweet from 2019.
Must suck to be a Democrat:
You lose the election you rigged to win in 2016
And in 2019, the rigged hoax you created to make up for losing in 2016 gets blown up by the man who led the investigation
Not sick of winning!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 25, 2019
On November 9, this was the opening of a New York Times article.
“On the morning of Election Day, Charlie Kirk, the conservative talk show host from Arizona, shared a video on Twitter about broken voting machines in Maricopa County, followed by a series of posts suggesting that the problems were intentional,” The Times’ Sheera Frenkel and Steven Lee Myers wrote. “’This is manufactured chaos,’ he wrote, calling for those responsible to be arrested.”
“The video was shared nearly 20,000 times and liked by more than 30,000 users, including many prominent accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. The post and others like it on a dozen online platforms kindled a false narrative of widespread voting shenanigans among those predisposed to believe that the country’s elections are rigged.”
Fast forward to Tuesday.
Here’s Kirk complaining to Steve Bannon that Republicans didn’t vote in the November, 2022 election several weeks ago, “because a lot of people do not trust the system.”
Charlie Kirk says there was a poor Republican turnout in AZ because their voters think elections are rigged: “400,000 people that voted for Trump in 2020 did not show up or vote for the midterm election. I believe it’s because a lot of people do not trust the system.” pic.twitter.com/UJvHiCQfQm
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) November 29, 2022
Five Engines of Secret Service Rental Vehicles for the President’s Thanksgiving Break Catch Fire
The Nantucket Current reported that five of the vehicles rented by the U.S. Secret Service caught fire at the local airport during President Joe Biden’s Thanksgiving break. Biden’s family has met in Nantucket for Thanksgiving for decades but this is the first time a cache of vehicles looked like their engines exploded.
The report identified that the five vehicles were all different types, a Chevy Suburban, Ford Explorer, Infiniti QX80, Ford Expedition and Jeep Gladiator. The Ford Expedition did have a recall on it for the connections to the battery, indicating that fires have been caused by the problem. The car had not been taken in for repairs, sources told the Current. It’s unclear if that single car caused the fire or if each of the cars simultaneously caught fire.
The front of the white Ford Expedition and the one across from it looks to be considerably more damaged than the other cars.
“At approximately 5:22 am Airport shift staff observed an active fire in the rental car overflow area through the Airport’s Closed Circuit Television System,” the airport said in a statement. “Staff activated the Alert system and responded to the fire in Airport-3, where they were met by responding units from Nantucket Fire Department and Nantucket Police Department. Combined fire resources responded and contained the fire. Several vehicles were damaged. The Airport is currently coordinating with rental car agencies and agency partners to ensure scene safety. There is no longer an active fire at this time: the Airport is open, and aeronautical operations are not affected.”
‘Beyond Horrific’: Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Producer Is an Out Gay Man Helping ‘Ramp Up’ Hate Says LGBTQ Journalist
Fox News propagandist Tucker Carlson, whose nightly show frequently has the largest reach of any on cable news, regularly attacks the LGBTQ community with fear-mongering and hate-filled segments about gay people, transgender people, “groomers” and the latest target: “drag queen story hours.”
His senior executive producer, who oversees Carlson’s media empire at Fox News, is a married, out, gay man named Justin Wells, according to veteran journalist and SiriusXM Progress host Michelangelo Signorile, who is calling it “beyond horrific to think a gay man has helped to shape and widely disseminate a message of hate against LGBTQ people.”
Last week, in the wake of the horrific anti-LGBTQ hate crime mass shooting Carlson hosted a guest, the head of the so-called “Gays Against Groomers,” who told Fox News viewers the attack on LGBTQ people at a gay bar in Colorado Springs was “predictable” and warned that these hate crime massacres will continue, “until we end this evil agenda” of gender-affirming care.
Tucker Carlson guest: Shootings like the Club Q shooting are going to keep happening “until we end this evil agenda” of gender-affirming care. pic.twitter.com/4ajSonqlug
— Kat Abu (@abughazalehkat) November 23, 2022
Carlson has repeatedly hosted Jaimee Mitchell, the Gays Against Groomers founder who fear mongers against LGBTQ people, with the apparent consent of Wells, who “helped promulgate the kind of hate that leads to violence,” says Signorile.
“It’s unlikely that any narrative would get broadcast by Tucker without significant buy-in from Justin,” Angelo Carusone, President and CEO of media watchdog Media Matters, told Signorile.
Indeed, referring to the Colorado Springs mass shooting massacre, Signorile noted it is “the same kind of nightclub at which Wells, in years past, danced the night away in Miami Beach and elsewhere, liberating himself from the world outside and surely never imagining he’d be shot dead.”
“Now he’s aided the extremists who deny that sense of safety and liberation to every future generation of queer people,” says Signorile, explaining that “Wells runs the entire Tucker Carlson operation, and is responsible for imprinting the Tucker Carlson brand, which is all about emboldening white heterosexual male grievance, furthering the racist conspiracy of ‘replacement theory’ and pushing an increasingly virulent anti-LGBTQ agenda.”
One of Carlson’s frequent LGBTQ targets is Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who he has called an “unqualified ‘kid’ who ‘breastfeeds,’ and has no business running the agency,” as Mediaite reported.
“And as Carlson further pushed white nationalism, attacked transgender people and embraced Hungary’s authoritarian leader Victor Orban,” Signorile reports, “Wells, in 2021, was named a Vice President at Fox News, in charge of all Carlson product that airs on Fox News TV as well as on Fox’s streaming network, Fox Nation.”
Signorile says, “it’s quite stunning that Wells would work for Carlson, who has a well-known history of visceral homophobia. That’s something that came to light again last year when it became known that Carlson had offered a tribute to Dan White, the assassin of San Francisco supervisor and gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk, in his college yearbook back in 1991, as well as to the late vociferously anti-gay Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who whipped up homophobia during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.”
“I wrote about those jarring revelations when they surfaced last year,” he continues, “as well as about what I dubbed Carlson’s ‘pathological obsession with homosexuality’ throughout his career. Carlson has expressed revulsion at homosexuality, and in one incident he reveled in a violent response. In a TV interview in 2007 he described having smashed a man’s head ‘against the stall’ in a public rest room, after the man ‘bothered’ him.”
“Wells, as a gay man, only emboldens Carlson further,” Signorile concludes. “He gives him permission to launch the ugly attacks and helps Carlson validate, for himself (and likely for executives at Fox News), the vitriol he espouses. That makes Justin Wells’ presence as the powerful gay man behind Tucker Carlson all the more newsworthy. And all the more dangerous.”
Signorile notes that his reporting is not an outing.
“This story is not, however, about a warped closet case, tormented by self-loathing, hiding his true self while bashing those like him. And thus, this story is not an outing, which involves exposing someone who covers up their sexual orientation while publicly presenting as heterosexual — though it certainly may be a startling revelation to a great many. It is, rather, about connecting the dots regarding a reality that seems to have been hiding in plain sight.”
You can read Signorile’s entire report on his Substack newsletter.
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