Tag Archives: Tracy Morgan

Number 5 Bigot of the Year Award 2011: “Celebrities” Behaving Badly

28 Dec

Number 5 Bigot of 2011

What a year! Sadly, 2011 was rife with so-called celebrities using their marginal fame to rail against the rights and dignity of their fellow humans. The majority of these over-compensated blowhards used their platforms to practice homophobia and misogyny. The summer was particularly loaded with such stories, giving us no fewer than six bigots of the week. The abusers ranged from Adam Carolla’s homophobic rants to Damali Keith’s insulting coverage of Glee on Faux News, from David Tyree’s anti-gay screed to rappers Tyler the Creator and Cee-Lo accusing anyone offended by their talentless bloviating of being gay.

Perhaps the champ was hypothetical comedian Tracy Morgan, whose virulently homophobic and misogynistic performance in Nashville last June threatened to overwhelm his career. It also provided an opportunity for others to show their cowardice or their courage. Jeers to 30 Rock creator and co-star Tina Fey for defending Morgan. Comedian Chris Rock was a mixed bag, initially defending Morgan from a comedy-can-be-edgy platform and then wisely backing down when he looked at the content more closely. Cheers to Wanda Sykes, who wittily dismantled Morgan’s ranting, exposing hate for what it is.

Celebrities derive their fame, money, and power from the people who watch and pay them. We must hold them accountable when they abuse that power to oppress anyone.

FLASHBACK: The 2010 #5 Bigot of the Year was the Tea Party for spewing its toxicity into our national dialogue.


Wednesday Word of the Week, June 15

15 Jun

The 3 e-Stooges

Today’s word is: CONSEQUENCES

the outcome of an event especially as relative to an individual – Macmillan Dictionary Online

This has been a fascinating week to look at the ACTIONS

something you do, especially something that seems wrong or unusual to other people – Macmillan Dictionary Online

of famous or powerful people and see just what the OUTCOMES

the possible or likely result of something – Macmillan Dictionary Online

of those actions have been.

Let’s start with the unfortunately-named Representative Anthony Weiner and his sexting scandal, which was significant enough to the blogosphere that it has its own Weinergate page on Wikipedia.

  • What was his action? Sending at least semi-lewd pictures of himself to women he barely knew (or knew only virtually) via Twitter and yfrog.
  • What was the outcome? He got caught because of one careless Tweet.

Had it ended there, I think most people would agree with my assessment that it was a matter between the Congressman and his family. Foolish? Perhaps. Criminal? No. Cause for resignation? No. Sadly, he decided to engage in another round of consequences.

  • What was his next action? Flat-out denial of the events and accusations of hacking and sabotage.
  • What was the outcome? He got backed into a corner and had to recant the accusations and admit what he had done.

As a result of this, he has lost credibility and power within his party, where he was something of a rising star. Many believe he should resign; I believe that is overkill, but some sort of censure for publicly lying and an investigation of whether or not he used House wireless equipment are certainly in order. At the end of it all, he took a leave of absence to regroup and to heal with his family, a very sound decision.

Next, let’s look at the Gay Girl in Damascus blog. Millions followed the life of this oppressed lesbian freedom fighter in Syria. Her fate seemed tenuous at best and her passionate posts about the situation there were very compelling. The only problem with this situation being? It turns out that Gay Girl was a straight guy from Georgia living in Scotland.

  • What was his action? Creating a fictional person who became such a sensation that it grew out of his control. So out of control, in fact, that he tried to kill her off more than once.
  • What was the outcome? The blogger was uncovered and had to make an abject apology as he closed down the blog.

In what may have been an honest attempt to raise awareness and sympathy, Tom MacMaster exploited and trivialized the gay community, the freedom fighters, and the legitimate blogosphere. He will probably pay no real price other than shame for his actions, but the ripples contribute mightily to the pervasive cynicism of the digital age.

Finally, we have the amazing consequence chain of Tracy Morgan.

  • What was his action? Believing himself immune to criticism because he was practicing his typical, offensive brand of humor, he engaged in a rant against the gay community.
  • What was the outcome? Much to Morgan’s surprise, an offended audience member posted a reaction to his screed on Facebook and that reaction went viral.

The outcry was enormous, and Morgan found himself confronted with the horror of his actions. The story became more interesting however, when more consequence chains arose. Enter Chris Rock:

  • What was his action? He released a knee-jerk tweet that defended Morgan, apparently on hypothetical free speech grounds.
  • What was the outcome? Rock got hammered by the blogosphere (including TSM), some of the press, and very notably Wanda Sykes.
  • What was Rock’s next action? He looked more carefully at Morgan’s rant, retracted his support, and apologized for his initial reaction.
  • What was the outcome? Overall, people were supportive of Rock taking prompt action and admitting his mistake quickly and honestly. His long history of support for the LGBTQ community gave him the credibility he needed to weather the storm.

Disappointingly, many progressives defended both Morgan and Rock on free speech grounds. As we have emphasized on TSM before, this is no defense for either man. The U.S. Constitution promises no government interference with free speech. This First Amendment protection covers the despicable Fred Phelps when governments try to stifle his horrific expression. Private citizens, employers, and corporate sponsors, however, can choose to impose consequences on offensive actions. Two fairly recent examples illustrate this point effectively:

  • Juan Williams violated his contract with NPR and was dismissed. He had the right to speak (action) but lost his job (outcome).
  • Kobe Bryant was sadly just one athlete to utter offensive words during a game. In this case, his sponsor, Nike, chose to stand behind him, so action was taken by the outraged members of the public, who maintain a boycott against Nike.

Unfortunately, it looks like Tracy Morgan’s case is going much more the way of Kobe Bryant. Despite fellow comedians Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes pointing out the harm of his words, NBC and producer Tina Fey have offered tepid apologies for their 30 Rock star and moved on. What will the consequences be for Morgan? It remains to be seen. Will he lose his job, possibly his career, like Michael Richards, Juan Williams, and Isaiah Washington? Or will his media pals give him a slap on the wrist and a public service announcement like Kobe Bryant? Let’s hope his actions will have an appropriately stern outcome.

Looking at all three of these examples, I am struck by one common thread that strikes me as a cautionary note. Weiner got caught by Twitter; MacMaster pushed out too many lies on his Blogger page; Morgan got caught by a Facebook post; Rock got slammed for a thoughtless Tweet.

In the highly-connected age of social media, our instincts turn to quick action. Sadly, the outcomes of those actions are magnified by the size of the audience and made permanent by the digital record. We need to learn from these examples and be more thoughtful in our actions. How many others have been stung by their careless actions or the virtual mistakes of someone else and paid the price? The lineup of the famous leads one to assume that there are thousands of victims less well known.

Actions have outcomes. Everyone should know that their behavior may have consequences. In this day and age, the ripples are large and fast. A deep breath and a careful pause are our best allies, as the best preventative for consequences is

a moral duty to behave in a particular way – Macmillan Dictionary Online


(P.S. – We can only hope, of course that this parade of yahoos is forced to take responsibility for their actions come election day…)

Everybody Hates Chris: Chris Rock Bigot at Large

11 Jun

Waiting for Rock to join them.

Right now there is a good reason for everyone to hate Chris Rock.  He has just publicly come out in support of the talentless and bigoted Tracy Morgan. Rock defended the homophobic and misogynistic comments of Morgan, saying:

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in world where Tracy Morgan can’t say foul inappropriate shit.

Really?  So advocating violence against the LGBT community is acceptable?  What kind of sociopathy is our culture celebrating here?  Thank goodness The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) quickly released the following statement:

Language about stabbing kids for being gay isn’t ‘foul.’ It’s dangerous.

It seems to me that GLAAD is stating the obvious here, but apparently this is not obvious to homophobic bigots like Rock and Morgan.  Perhaps Rock, Morgan, and Mel Gibson can work on a project together where they can spew hate at all the Jews and gays.  What a Ménage à Trois that would be.  Click here to see the full article.

Bigot of the Week Award: June 10

10 Jun

Bigot of the Week

This week’s bigot was so nefarious, so contemptible that I had to just breathe for several minutes before I could compose this article.  Tracy Morgan did a stand up performance in Nashville, TN that was mortifyingly homophobic and misogynistic.  If there is such a thing as karma, Morgan will be stuck in Nashville for the rest of his life.  I have such little tolerance for marginalized people to then marginalize others–it is despicable and unconscionable.  As part of the performance, Morgan said: “If my son were gay I’d stab him to death.”  This certainly earns Morgan the BWA and I would say adds him to the nominees for the Bigot of the Year Award.  His extended homophobic bigoted rant made me purple with anger, but also sends up huge Gay Pride Flags–methinks he doth protest too much.  Am I the only one that wonders if he and Larry Craig are playing footsie in the men’s bathroom stall together?  Morgan went on to say: “Tracy then said he didn’t fucking care if he pissed off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass… they can take a fucking  joke.”  Wow!  You are a charmer, aren’t you?  TSM welcomes a response from Tina Fey or anyone from NBC, parties responsible for Morgan’s continued inclusion on 30 Rock.  Shame on all of you!  Employing someone this reprehensible should have economic consequences — will we need a boycott? Here are the two sources I used: click here and click here.

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