Features Jun 17, 2015 at 4:00 am

Even Internet Homophobes Deserve the Benefit of the Doubt Sometimes

Sometimes people learn and grow because they actually learn and grow.


Now imagine if a stranger genius nominee spat on a gay bar manager and called him a faggot! Oh wait, nobody cares. I'll sit my ass down.
I'd agree if this was 1975 or 1985....at this point in history though? Actions speak louder than apologies.
The buzz word of the day is privilege and all the flavors it comes in: white, male, hetero, cis, etc. Whatever the type, the thing is that people with it (like me, for whom all those privileges apply) we are not born automatically knowing that benefits/advantages/privilege exist for us but not for other people. We will make mistakes, we will mess up, we have said things in the past that we regret and are ashamed of. So please assume that if we are are not where we ought to be, we are on the way there (e.g. 33 states legalizing same sex marriage in the last couple of years).
Agreed, but I am skeptical she would have changed her tune if she hadn't made it big and wanted to keep the dough rolling in. I guess if it makes her be not homophobic at least outwardly, I guess that's a good thing.
Well said, Dan. And a new challenge as our social media history meets a post-equality future. However I'm not sure a gay person's previous "doth protest too much" homophobia necessarily compares well to anti-gay sentiments from someone who isn't dealing with their own self realization. The words and eventual change of position may look the same, but the reason behind the offending hate is quite different from someone who isn't trying to deny their true nature. The act of coming out as gay is authentic beyond reproach, compared to taking someone at their word they've changed their mind about gay people.
I'm with #2 - actions speak louder than words. Let's see something that says "I care" more than her saying "I care."
@1 - damn, you are a message-board virus man. your story changes every post. If my and (many) others' opposing firsthand accounts won't sway you, check out kings yelp reviews for an established pattern of profiling, exclusion, and many other forms of fuckery perpetrated by their shitty barstaff. another investigation for you since you have so much time on your hands: if the americana scene is rooted in nostalgia, what is it ballard ave is so nostalgic for?
@7 you manage to post longer responses than my posts. And since my last post I spoke to my friends who were the victims of the assault. I can't seem to wrap my head about how the actions were excusable. I'm really not trying to start anything, I simply feel that it should be acknowledged. And are you by any chance the white dude who threatened to have his dad sue if anyone put their hands on OC? that was a funny part of an otherwise unfunny story.
I agree with the spirit of the post, although, if one's instinct is not to give X a chance to fool one twice, a surface acceptance and just dismissing X from further consideration doesn't seem to hurt.

Ms Azalea, from this report, appears to have gone and sinned no more. If memory serves, Mr Grier may have amends to make to others as well, but I am certainly ready to acknowledge how he might have done better since his offence.

I think Mr Savage has inadvertently fudged the time line here. If memory serves again, Ms Scarcella's acceptance of Mr Nash's *original* apology (this seems a more recent one) followed the offending video rather closely in time and included not only her saying things that would have been acceptable (whether one agreed or disagreed) only coming from Mr Savage or some other member of the target group but a forgiveness which was as premature as it was presumptive. It was the sort of forgiveness one would offer someone contrite about a verbal or physical accident such as dropping and breaking one's Royal Doulton teacup with the hand-painted periwinkles; Ms Scarcella accepted that Mr Nash had already done better before he'd had time to demonstrate that it wasn't just a sorry-anyone-was-offended sort of apology. But I am prepared to believe that she may have improved over time as well.
Dan this rational appeal won't work because the die hard members of the Internet Shame Machine and SJW outrage mobs all feel they have exited the womb fully enlightened. They don't make mistakes. For them the endless pursuit of purity is it's own reward. They don't actually Do anything but police everybody else.
The age of the internet, where you are inescapably defined by the worst thing you ever did. And you can't even escape judgement by not participating, for as Michael Norton said recently, if (I'm paraphrasing) you don't put all your personal information on facebook, you are presumed guilty. What are you hiding, hmmm?
@2/6: Clearly you haven't had much contact with 15-year olds.
Nice post. Telling that many of the comments still can't accept the apology, "Well this is how the situation was slightly different so slightly worse..."

Growing up in the South I cringe now when I think of the way my friends and I used to talk. Just like many young men we used gay and homo as disparaging terms without even thinking about it.

Now I've grown up, experienced more of the world and benefited from a liberal education. Thankfully no one has dredged up any of my old AOL Instant Messenger logs to pluck some vile quote out of context and thrust to the top of google search rankings for eternity.
If only you hadn't picked Iggy to forgive, who has an even more recent history of being a douchebag towards blacks. She's problematic to the core and a good candidate for boycotting forever. Some dumb just can't be undone.
@2 @6 In both examples (Grier and Azalea) their behavior changed - no more homophobic shit and displays of support. Grier kissed a guy and Azalea WAS going to perform at a pride parade. People can grow. For example, you guys could learn how to forgive. That would be growth.
I'm willing to forgive everyone except for that mom you referenced. That was evil, and I'm not sure the person who said it would be reformable. A "I wish you were dead" to your own child is so heinous and sociopathic that I'm still a bit wobbly from reading it.
@8- wow. flagrant (unimaginative) liars you roll with. not shocking. sounds like something you'd hear at Kings tho. I was there with my extremely sober wife and attendees of a private party from across the street. where were you? oh. take this story back to thedirty, and get a life.
Does tragedy plus time equal open mindedness? A few out of the billion bigots on the planet get called out and they just happen to be the ones who reform. It may even be sincere, but don't feel sorry for them, they can take it - or if not pay for a publicist. (I'm a white, straight ex-frat guy. I know my own...)
@1 @7 @8 @19 please provide references so your slapfight makes some goddamn sense.
Chick from Mullumbimby. Hippy land on the Nth Coast of NSW. Hard to understand how she could have had homophobic thoughts let alone say the words.
Obviously a stuck up
her arse sort of young woman. Still, she has apologized, doesn't that count anymore?
@stuffandstuff. No. Not liars. Just good people doing their job and booting violent homophobes and getting assaulted as a result. The only reason I care is because I occasionally work the door in the same neighborhood. Obviously this is going nowhere. I don't, however, think speaking up about peoples deplorable behavior and standing up for ones friends is indicative of not having a life. Especially when a supposedly liberal institution like the Stranger is attempting to launch the perps career. So kindly fuck off with the "get a life" BS.
Azalea I can let go! Her comments were fairly benign. But Grier's?? Hell no!! What he said and the way he said it went beyond homophobic...it was pure hate! I don't care if your 15....it was a disgusting display of pure bigotry. Should youth be an excuse? Well take Azalea's comments..those can be viewed as stupidity and ignorance. The video with Grier was disturbing, and in 2013 he should know better. We all were young once...I would have NEVER thought of posting a video like that! Forgive him? Maybe...but NEVER forget!
"I used words I should not have... I meant no harm and deeply regret ever uttering those words."

Bullshit. She did mean harm. That's why she chose those words. It's not an apology if you refuse to own your actions AND intent. Fuck her. Fuck her non-apology, and fuck you, Dan.
mmmfffhh.. such mean words form some of these commenters... Dan is right. forgive and let it go.. You can hate as much as you want, but eventually yourheart will grow cold and you'll die a bitter ol' person... I say do yourself a favor and let it go.. Life's too short to be constantly bitching about the little stuff.. Wait until the big stuff hits you and then I'll listen.
Yeah. I've done worse. In the eighties I was the friendly, sympathetic straight guy on your dorm floor who wouldn't be seen with you in front of his homophobic friends. The friend who dropped off the face of the earth when you were in your last days with AIDS? Yup, that was me. Bad as a tweet can be, to really stick the knife in you gotta get closer.

All very long ago. I was young, and scared, and didn't really have a backbone yet. Deeply insecure.

You learn, you grow. Those of us who are older are more forgiving because we have done some of that ourselves. We can see the contrast between our conduct present and past.
aren't iggy's tweets just her appropriating one of hip-hop culture's nastier memes -- the pervasive homophobia -- rather than coming from some original core of personal hate? reads like she was tryna be all gangsta real, in the worst way.
I'm willing to forgive if the apology seems sincere (both did), and they don't do it again (neither has). I certainly said all kinds of stupid offensive shit when I was younger. My only saving grace is that I made most of my stupid offensive comments pre-internet, and they were thankfully never recorded and preserved and replayed forever.

I'm less willing to forgive people like Alec Baldwin who said some stupid offensive shit, apologized, and then later said stupid offensive shit again. He seemed oblivious that the shit he said was offensive. One the one hand, he sometimes says the right progressive things and has generally been an ally, but in moments of drunkenness or anger, the homophobia bubbles to the surface. In times of stress, he releases his inner asshole.

These two seemed to have backed up their apologies with action. Neither has said offensive shit since then. They seemed to have learned from their mistakes. I will totally accept that.
@2 @6 How is attempting to perform at a pride celebration not an action?
aren't iggy's tweets just her appropriating one of hip-hop culture's nastier memes -- the pervasive homophobia -- rather than coming from some original core of personal hate? reads like she was tryna be all gangsta real, in the worst way.
Azalea not only posted several homophobic Tweets but also many racist ones (Google 'piggy azaela' for the whole sordid collection). I feel her repeat offender status (far beyond an isolated remark) in communicating hateful thoughts to a broad audience belies an inner ugliness and reckless mean spiritedness that, apology or no, I don't wish to support. There are so many talented artists with vastly more integrity than she has shown. Grappling with one's worldview in youth is understandable; repeatedly spewing venom is not.
She was right about males whispering in each other's ears.
Do people change? - yes. But is it so bad that we are holding people accountable for words spoken even in "ignorance"?. These are celebrities that get fame and fortune off their appearances and influence in popular culture. Fuck it. I would rather forgive and forget a politician that took dick pics than a millionaire celebrity who was a homophobe. Let it be known to the "upcoming celebs"... be careful what you say.
Isn't performing at a pride event exactly the type of action that many would have been calling for to make up for these comments? I'm speaking as a gay girl from Pittsburgh who might have actually went to Pride if she was there. Thought it would be a fun show. Instead everyone bitched about her being there because of some homophobic tweets that she was trying to make amends for (playing at Pittsburgh Pride isn't exactly selling out at Madison Square Garden so I doubt she was in it for the notoriety...though I suppose you could argue good press). And then they had Nick Jonas play and people bitched about it being a white male. Minds sometimes take time to mature and change. It would be nice if people could try to understand that. And I know about three of her songs, so I'm not a huge fan or anything. Just thought it was a cool different selection. And having read about these tweets before, I was happy she was going out of her way to do something like this.
Teenagers do stupid stuff. They are dangerous.
Ms Lucky raises a good point - if Ms Azalea is still on the Anti side privately and wasn't enthusiastic about the booking, she might have been pleased to have such an out. There is something to looking at the performance as atonement, but I can see how one might argue that Pride wouldn't be the right venue for a rehabilitation.


M? Gentrified - That might be worse. I'm reminded of the gay engaged LW to wrote asking Prudie if he had to invite his uncle who'd voted against marriage equality in the state legislature to the wedding, and Prudie came as close as possible (allowing for its being his wedding, to which he could invite people or not as he chose) to saying he did, basing a large part of her response on the idea that maybe the vote was representing the will of his constituency and not a personal belief.


I'll combine things for an off-the-cuff not-sure-how-serious-this-is prediction: If marriage equality is established and survives the first sustained backlash, there will be a serious attempt to shorten the alphabet soup community's main acronym by removing the G to become the LBT community.
Azalea's posts seem a little ignorant and mildly offensive, and I'm glad she's apologized for them and taken them down. Grier's behavior was absolutely disgusting and borderline unforgivable, and saying "Omg he totes tweeted and snapchatted about it, so just let it go man" just makes you sound rather childish. With the backdrop of getting screened for HIV--a plague that has wiped out countless homosexuals--he yelled, screamed FAG at people who get and die from it, all while simultaneously claiming that he didn't have to worry about it because he wasn't a fag.

This is savage, rabid, disgusting and outrageous hate. It's going to take more than a stupid little tweet or two essentially saying, "Sorry brah, I was young, you know, so we're chill right! Here lemme kiss some dude, gross right, but dude to show you know how chill we should be. Dude, so now we're chill, right?"

F*ck Nash Grier, he's utter filth and we should NOT accept his half assed apology and transparent pandering. (On an added note, his Dad said he was going to be made to apologize before he did, so even more reason not to accept his "apology")
Nash also had a much longer and illustrious career as a twitter homophobe than Dan's silly little article here makes clear:


This isn't casual hate. This is 24 months ago calling people fags, telling people not to support gay rights or gay marriage.

This guy is a useless tool. I'm sorry, the only reason he apologized is to stop the backlash.
@17, @30, @37 - Iggy was going to perform for an hour for $100,000+. I'm fairly certain her love of $ was the deciding factor in her decision to play Pgh Pride, not her supposed love for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Everyone who is saying to just get over it, or that what people are upset about is such an insignificant issue, please reread the points made in the comments @34, because that's the real trouble with Iggy, not just her homophobic past. And the Iggy issue was just the last straw for the people of Pgh, revealing a much bigger range of issues with Pittsburgh's Delta Foundation. Their organization structure, and operations are the real focus of the discontent that erupted when they announced their choice of performer.

Too bad Dan only acknowledged the homophobia element of the issue with Iggy. So shocking that an affluent cis gay white male wouldn't see the bigger picture. Color me aghast!!
In the self-differentiating animal kingdom of which we are a part, apologies and true forgiveness are not core to our being. Domination at whatever level an individual can sustain is a core primal drive.

Oppressors obviously live into it. Victims can live into it by persistence in claiming the offense taken even if none was truly meant.

"Victim dominance" is much harder to address.

The common everyday example is when one says, "Hey, that hurt." Then the response, "I'm sorry. But you know that you have done etc., etc." Even if apologized for, the victim dominance rises up.

Do any of us truly accept the apology when given? How many store the "incident(s)" until the time is right and then use it (them) to justify revenge?

The Ferguson rioters (arsonists) must have felt justified in some sense. But they took it out on the wrong people....or in their own mind were they the wrong people.?
ITT: a bunch of people refuse to consider accepting apologies, and steadfastly pursue righteous internet rage. Nice try, Dan.
@Eud, @Crin: good posts this thread.
What does it even mean to "forgive" a person with which you never have any interactions?
The Australian rapper is insanely, rabidly, outrageously homophobic.

Azalea posted the offending tweets in 2010 and 2011, when she was 20 and 21 years old, and she has subsequently deleted and apologized for them.

Shouldn't that is be was?
Something about this girl annoys the shit out of me. Young, beautiful and arrogant. Maybe she will learn a big lesson from this and become half bearable.
There is nothing new about evil and depraved rap lyrics.
My ex husband used to say to me, when I apologized, that it wasn't good enough.
Like, there is no way out from that trap.
Something about this girl annoys the shit out of me.

51/LavaGirl, I've heard her name but don't know anything about her music. She should have a different name though, like Rhody Azalea or Miss Iggy Azalea or Iggy Pop Goes-The-Weasel Azalea or iggy No-I'm-Not-The-Voice-Of-All-Those-Characters-On-The-Simpsons Azalea.
Maybe Roma,@54; when she gets her head out of her arse, someone could suggest
that she reboot herself, and use one of the excellent names you have suggested.
when she gets her head out of her arse

Giving new meaning to "down under."
apology is just feelings words, amends is feelings action
Dan -- have you read Jon Ronson's "So You've Been Publically Shamed"? Go get it . . . read it . . . book him on your podcast!
Iggy's career in a tailspin right now and up for a makeover. She's outed herself over the years with many nasty, disdainful comments which show they aren't one off. To some, these rather late, career low apologies are better than never. The only thing is if her racist and homophobic comments were meant to gain some kind of badass, hip hop cred, then what are her apologies truly worth? For a gal who has been branding herself one thing and making millions doing it, she's gonna have to work way harder than issuing a few belated sorries.
Oy, people. Never lead an apology with "to anyone I have offended". This subtly implies that there could, maybe! be nobody who was really offended. Own it and say "to EVERYONE I have offended". It reads a lot better.
I'm a big believer in forgiveness, but let's not pretend that Iggy playing a gay pride event is some kind of act of atonement. She was going to be paid a pretty substantial sum of money to perform.

Actions are worth more than an "Oops, I'm sorry." If you are truly sorry, donate your time or money to an appropriate cause. Don't simply issue a statement written by your publicist.

The permanence of the internet makes it pretty hard for anyone to be imperfect (those tweets were so mild) and very difficult to ever find redemption. The instinct to crucify is not something we'll ever shake off, and the internet makes it so wonderfully easy. Maybe it'll change when our friends and family (and selves) get a permanent record -- not just celebrities.
Why the fuss? Really it couldn't be about these mild, harmless, little old tweets caught before they were deleted:


My teen's take (and whose judgement I deferred to) is poor Iggy can't rap. She really can't. Not even her own song. She's taken a lot of heat for appropriating a culture she doesn't understand and to top it off, doing the job badly. The vine that went viral.


Now she's royally pissed and needs a new stage. Sounds like she's on her way to becoming the Divine Miss Iggy. But that's redemption for you. All in the marketing as old as crucifixtion and indulgence. Not to mention, the payola -divine.
But did anyone ever remind Iggy that in fact her butt already has two legs growing out if it? As do most people's butts?

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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