The story of NFL quarterback Drew Brees and his homophobic association with Focus on the Family is the story that just keeps on giving … reasons to be outraged.
After an uproar over a video promoting an event founded to “counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda,” and a subsequent fuss over backpedaling and half-apologies, today’s clamor concerns a New Orleans radio station that tweeted a homophobic slur at one of its own hosts.
Last week, Seth Dunlap, a sports show host at WWL-AM, wrote an open letter to Saints quarterback Drew Brees who recently appeared in a video for Focus on the Family, promoting a “Bring Your Bible to School Day” event. While the title of the event seems innocuous, it was started several years ago to compete with GLAAD’s annual Spirit Day by encouraging children to express homophobic views in school. Brees followed that up with a second video, blaming media headlines for misinterpreting his intentions.
In his letter, Dunlap expressed empathy with Brees, but explained why the video was so troubling. “I am a gay man who has worked nearly two decades in the sports media industry,” Dunlap wrote. “My personal experience, not headlines or Twitter innuendo, caused me to recoil at your initial video, and become even further flummoxed at your response today.”
It was a fine letter and received several dozen supportive comments. That seemed to be the extent of things.
And then, on September 10, Dunlap was tweeting about an unrelated story, and asked his followers, “Which of these 5 overreactions isn’t actually an overreaction?”
About an hour later, the station’s official Twitter account responded: “That you’re a fag.”
The tweet was soon deleted, but by then screenshots and responses had already exploded.
“My wife used to tell me not to go on this radio station because she always felt undertones in their political coverage. Looks like she was right,” wrote reporter Nick Underhill.
“This is disgusting and @WWLAMFM needs to provide an explanation. Now!” wrote columnist Larry Holder.
To their credit, the station publicly responded within the day, but didn’t reveal much. “We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account,” a representative for the station wrote, anonymously, on Twitter. “The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station. We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.”
There was no attempt at an apology from the station.
This may be yet another case of a rogue employee finding a flashy way to get fired. Or it might be someone at the station who has access to social media, but meant to tweet something anonymously from a different account. It’s like the time that someone working on Chrysler’s social media team accidentally posted that people in Detroit can’t drive, or when a StubHub employee accidentally called their employer a “stubsucking hellhole” on the official account.
Whatever the case, we still have no idea how the tweet managed to be posted, or what the station will do to make it up to Dunlap.
For his part, Dunlap’s first response was to tweet an image of Homer Simpson relaxing, with the caption: “I'm just going to really enjoy knowing somebody is exceptionally upset I get to talk sports every night for a living.”
On Wednesday, he posted another message. “Being yourself has never been more important,” he wrote. “I’m overwhelmed, but I’m also very proud of who I am and the life I live. I’ll be taking tonight off from the show to reflect and decompress.”