Lane Hudson

Day 4: Where is Richardson's Apology

Filed By Lane Hudson | July 13, 2007 1:09 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Bill Richardson, election 2008, faggot, make an apology, Spanish

On Tuesday, I blogged about Bill Richardson using the Spanish equivalent of "faggot" on Don Imus' radio/television show. The background can be found here in an article by Chris Crain and Karen Ocamb.

I'd like to add one point and then bring you up to date on the ridiculous shenanigans that are going on about this. Catch me after the jump for the rest.

First, I'd like to point out how old school Richardson's reaction was last year when he committed this discriminatory faux pas. Rather than publicly say something like "darn, that was really stupid of me" or "I really can't believe I walked right into that trap", he picked up the phone and made a phone call for cover.

He called Alexis Blizman, the head of Equality New Mexico to apologize for the slur. He sought and promptly received appropriate cover for his verbal diarrhea. Ms. Blizman asked the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defemation (GLADD) not to publicly call out Richardson on the comments he made on the Imus show. Effectively, she shut down the process for which we hold folks accountable.

Things that work this way are unacceptable and reek of smoke-filled back room politics. In today's age of internet driven communication, it's politically naive to think such an approach will be effective and lasting.

After this was brought to light through Crain and Ocamb's reporting and subsequent blog postings around the country, Richardson appeared poised to respond with an apology. However, that apology is very much in question at this time. There are unconfirmed rumors that another gay rights organization is continuing to provide cover for Richardson and advising him against acknowledging his mistake in an appropriate way.

If this is the case, it dangerously continues the old school way of approaching such issues and will eventually come back to bite both in the ass. Let's end the shenanigans. An apology is appropriate and any organization that suggests otherwise is doing a disservice to the LGBT community.

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You know, I'm a big Richardson supporter and even I'm getting sick of the lack of an apology. I've been trying like crazy to get a statement out of the campaign that actually looks like, oh, an apology. So far, no luck. I'll keep everyone posted though. I mean, c'mon.... You said "faggot" in Spanish. Just apologize already instead of covering your ass.

An apology or a self evisceration? At this point what does the apology really signify. Richardson said an insulting thing, probably something he grew up hearing. It is terrible, horrible, deplorable and every other ible we can think of. The "reek" here is the side effect of necessary political alliances.

But... he did apologize, I thought... Yes, it was lame that he said where he comes from the word didn't have a negative or positive connotation, that was really stupid and not true. But he did say:
"It was a playful exchange between me and Don Imus that was not intended to demean anybody, but if I offended anybody, I apologize."

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C'mon though - even as a supporter, I can see that's not really an apology. "Gee, if I upset you, it was an accident. I was just playing around." You might as well add, "Why are you so sensitive?"

He said "faggot" in Spanish. Period. It deserves something more along the lines of "Wow. That was incredibly thoughtless of me to say that word. I can see how that would hurt people I never intended to hurt. Look at my record on LGBT issues and you'll see that I'm not homophobic. It was just a stupid mistake and it won't happen again."

What a difference THAT would be.

@Bil: And yet, you all don't seem to know what you want by way of apologies.

When Miriam Bolden (that idiot superintendent of schools in New Jersey who censored the high school yearbook gay kiss) apologized, responded pretty forgivingly. But Andy Towle and many others gave her shit for the WAY she apologized. And that it took so long (48 hours after it was first reported) for her to apologize.

I'm not convinced that, if Richardson said, word for word, the apology script you offer, that would be sufficient to evoke forgiveness and allow the community to move on together.

Putting on the armor now...If I read the calender correctly, Governor Richardson made s stupid remark a year ago on Imus' show, And a year ago he wasn't running for President officially but was Governor of NM. So when he said maricon he called the head of the state wide lgbt group and said I'm sorry. Who else was he supposed to have called, what ring was he supposed to have kissed at that point in time? I don't get it. Is this situation being grandfathered in so all apologies must be done to all queers across the country? Please explain.

I responded forgivingly to Marion because within two days, she'd come out and flat out said what she did was homophobic and horrible. She took responsibility for her actions. There was no "If you think what I did was homophobic, I'm sorry." Instead, it was "I did something homophobic and I'm truly sorry. It won't happen again."

That's not what's happened here. I've been on the phone with the Richardson campaign for days over this. They are aware that they didn't offer a real apology. As I've told them, just take responsibility for your actions and move on. Then the storm dies down and everyone thinks, "With the track record he has on LGBT issues and that direct apology, he really does care about us." Instead, I'm left with the feeling, "Oh - so you want our votes, but you're willing to pander to the right who would be offended if you actually apologized for calling someone a faggot."

MissThing - no armor needed. I'm a Richardson supporter! I don't want to see him go down. Honest. You have a good point about it being a year ago, BUT while he hadn't officially announced his campaign, he was on the show to talk about his presidential ambitions. The conversation this happened during was about courting the latino vote for his run for the big seat. And there's no one's ring he needed to kiss - that's the entire point. No one in our community can absolve anyone else on behalf of everyone. We're too diverse. He should apologize to everyone to get that forgiveness.

When Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, Isaiah Washington or Don Imus himself got in trouble for verbal diarrhea, they all apologized directly to the person they insulted and then to the community at large. Is Bill Richardson a Mel Gibson? Hell no. But if Mel can do it, surely Bill can; he's a much bigger man than any of the other bigots. And I don't want him to be painted with the same brush.