Sterling and Robertson: Why Is It Still OK to be Homophobic?


Yesterday, a man who gave anti-black remarks, has been banned from his job for LIFE.

Just last December, another person gave anti-gay remarks and walks away almost unscathed.

Donald Sterling, part owner of the Clippers, was banned from basketball for life and fined 2.5 million for comments he made in a private conversation.  Sterling was unaware he was being recorded. An act which in itself is against the law.

Than there’s Phil Robertson, popular cast member of the hit show Duck Dynasty: Last December, he sat down with an interviewer and was asked a question on the record. What he gave, much like Sterling, were homophobic remarks. He was suspended from his job, only to be reinstated weeks later. However, Duck Dynasty wasn’t even recording at the time, so in the end Phil Robertson walked away with zero punishment.

When I wrote about the Duck Dynasty issue before. I had many comments of people saying “Well it’s Freedom of Speech…People should be able to express their point of view!”

Which I agree completely. Mind you “Freedom of Speech” protects you from not getting arrested, it DOESN’T protect you from getting fired.

So why is it that Donald Sterling, who said his hateful speech in private is not put to the same standard as Phil Robertson? and vice versa?

Yes, many of the Clipper players are indeed black, but than again many of the people working on Duck Dynasty are gay. Sterling may be an owner of a huge franchise, but Phil Robertson is (sadly) a cultural figure.

Paula Deen was someone else whose career ended abruptly after her alleged racist remarks. She was fired from the Food Network and many brand promotions, after she was accused of making racist comments decades before. Again…she was accused. Nothing she said was ever proven.

Yet here we were with Phil Robertson, whose remarks were black and white: yet he gets nothing. I even heard fellow gay friends say, “well he was asked a question”. Shouldn’t a person sitting for a magazine interview have a bigger target on their back than someone who’s just having a private conversation?

If we’re firing people for having private thoughts I wonder… who is innocent. When I waited tables it was a known fact that certain ethnic groups were not the best customers. 98% of the time they lived up to the stereotypes: whites, blacks, asians, indians etc. There wasn’t one server I knew that didn’t once say “I hate _____…they never tip!”.

It’s much different to say to your sister in anger “I hate Dad!” than it is to sit down in an interview and say the same thing.

Even Kareem Abdul-Jubar expressed his confusion over the issue yesterday:

“Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way?”

So we have two very similar cases here. One has clearly stated his distaste for gays, publicly, while the other has stated his distaste for blacks in private. Yet the racist argument seems to hold much more ground.

Why is that?

If someone were to say “black is wrong” in an interview it would be career suicide. Yet saying “gay is wrong” is merely expressing your belief.

What’s the difference?

We as gays keep chanting the phrase “equal rights” when it comes to getting married. Yet, when it comes to being treated as people we sit back and shrug our shoulders. I would think marriage would come in second to this issue. Be respected first, marriage second.

Why is it more taboo to be anti-black than anti-gay? What more do gays need to do? We don’t have any stigmas against us, except for merely being gay. You never hear of gay criminals, gay rapists, a homeless gay. We do…have DONE…great things for this world. Yet when it comes down to it…it’s still ok to be homophobic.

-Aaron Smallets


12 thoughts on “Sterling and Robertson: Why Is It Still OK to be Homophobic?

  1. I think racism and homophobia are equally bad from a moral standpoint, but there are two distinctions that factor into the amount of coverage they’re getting. The first is how many more people racism affects directly in society at large. The second is the fact that both examples of racism you’ve presented arose in the context of an employer/employee relationship. Both Paula Deen and Donald Sterling ran businesses that employed a large number of racial minorities and catered to a significant minority clientele.

    The Donald Sterling incident, especially, mimics a centuries’ old system of oppression in which White business owners profited tenfold off the physical labor of Black men they regarded as subhuman and denied equal rights That same system of oppression has sparked a civil war, multiple political assassinations, lynchings, mob violence by the Klan (which deeply infiltrated local, state and federal governments for most of the 20th century) and has contributed to modern-day slavery and de facto Jim Crow policies in the forms of mass incarceration and ghettoization that are stripping our country of human capital and economic progress, creating an oligarchy and threatening to turn us into post-Soviet Russia.

    Phil Robertson, on the other hand, is some random redneck who likely has no interaction with gay people at all. His business is sitting in a swamp quacking like a duck and letting himself be filmed for the amusement of an audience that largely agrees with his worldview anyway. His views are absolutely despicable but they don’t stand to cause the same amount of direct harm to individuals or the integrity of any organization (besides A&E which lost its integrity years ago).

    Just my $.02.

  2. Agreed 100%. I think the first commenter (Kimchee Brown) has a point, but I also think it has to do with the length of the battle. The gay rights movement is much younger than ethnic rights movement. Hopefully in a few years comments like that will warrant firings and dramatic ends to careers.

  3. I don’t know why everyone gets butt hurt over EVERYTHING nowadays. I get called fat…umm daily or called out upon because I’m a blonde…there is people that are going to do and say things everywhere. I say things about people, just like y’all do! So get the hell over it and live your life and quit worrying about what someone says about this, that and the other. There is always going to be someone to ruin the fun for everyone else. It’s life.

    • I could care less if people call me a lot of things. But when you’re promoting anti-gay views…it makes it that much harder for a kid to come out in high school, for other states to approve gay marriage, for adoption laws to pass etc .

  4. I think the difference is that people who are homophobic can hide behind a religious belief. There are extremely few, and only very fringe, religious groups who still (openly at least) denounce people on the basis of their race. Yet, it is still perfectly acceptable to say “I hate gays because the Bible says I should,” and be completely protected from consequences because of it. Its like a religious exception for hatred.

  5. You’re forgetting that Phil Robertson also said racist things in that interview. And Sterling is sexist too, but the NBA wasn’t up in arms about that. Apparently, A&E didn’t think he harmed their brand, and the NBA felt Sterling did. I’ve read in several sources that Sterling did know he was being recorded, but it’s not illegal for a private citizen to record another person without their knowledge in California. If you’re worried about being recorded saying something racist, maybe you need to reevaluate whether you ARE racist. Working in retail taught me that anyone can be an a-hole, regardless of their skin color or sexual orientation or gender identity or religion. Be careful about saying that 98% of the time, people lived up to stereotypes. This shows your own bias pretty clearly. The negative often overshadows the positive in our memories. I’ve found that the same proportion of every group of people are jerks, or bad tippers. I’m disgusted by Robertson and Sterling and anyone else who treats anyone else as less than human. But don’t act like making generalizations about different races is not inherently racist.

  6. You need a fact checker. It is legal for any conversation to be taped as long as the consent is given by one. Exception for one situation. That one person may not be an acting law enforcement agent. This also is only a law for the admissibility of evidence in a criminal trial. When you write something for others to read and be compelling. The devil is in the details. You’re an angry entitled man.

  7. I’m from Northeast Louisiana and I’m sure the majority of the people who are actually going to read this already know my point and where I stand on this matter.just like Phil Robertsonmy religious and political beliefs are one in the same.being a homosexual is that said persons businessand in all honesty I don’t neither or need to know what you do behind closed doors. the cold hard facts that homosexuality is frowned uponsimply because our religion doesn’t condone nor believe it is alright to be can make fun of my religion and you can make fun of myself but simply because I disagree with your point of view and/or lifestyle gives you no right to publicly announce your preferences in gender!
    No I do not want my children to be gay nor act like a thug.
    I hope the upcoming generatios are genuinely wholesome god fearing good people. God fearing being a key factor in that sentence because without fearing where you end up in the end leaves nothing but unhappiness and a lifetime of actions that will end up putting you in the firey pits of hell.
    By no means am I a preacher or a perfect person but I would like to know that my children have the same life lessons and raising I got and like my father had and like his father before him. I could go on all day but just like the lady commented above me…
    “This is my ¢2”

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