Sportscaster After Using Gay Slur On-Air: ‘I Have Never Used That Word Before In My Life’

Sportscaster Thom Brennaman (screen capture)

Last month, longtime sportscaster Thom Brennaman surprised Cincinnati Reds fans when he was caught on a hot mic using a gay slur.

Coming out of a commercial break during the first game of a doubleheader between the Reds and Kansas City Royals on August 19, the play-by-play announcer was heard saying, “One of the f*g capitals of the world.”

Social media lit up about the remark seemingly without Brennaman’s knowledge until two hours later when he addressed the debacle with an awkward apology, pausing mid mea culpa to call a home run. After his statement, he was replaced at the mic.

The 56-year-old expressed his remorse again in a lengthy letter the next day to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirerwriting, “I hope the LGBTQ+ community, the Reds and their fans and the people of Cincinnati can find a way to think better of me.”

“With all the humility I can muster, I ask for your forgiveness.”

Brennaman has been indefinitely suspended by the Reds since then and last week was removed from Fox Sports’ NFL schedule – a gig he’s has since 1994.

In the past weeks, he’s been on an apology tour of sorts reaching out to LGBTQ groups which, he tells the New York Post, have been forgiving.

Addressing the incident and its fallout with the Post, Brennaman says he doesn’t even remember the context of his remark.

“Everything happened so fast,” he told the Post. “And I’m watching literally everything fall apart at the seams while trying to announce a baseball game.”

“I couldn’t even tell you what happened, where it came from. … Look, I said it is all that matters. The rest of it is irrelevant. I said it. And I own it. And I’m the one who has to live with it.”

The veteran sportscaster added emphatically, “I have never used that word (before) in my life.”

While some are willing to forgive and allow space for some sense of redemption, believing Brennaman had ‘never used that word’ is a bit of a stretch for a few folks.

Ryan Messer, a leading LGBTQ activist in Cincinnati that Brennaman has reached out to, says “If he used it then, he used it before.”

He adds, however, “if we don’t open the dialogue to help explain (the meaning behind the word), how do we learn and grow from it? And that’s where my whole perspective comes, and I’m willing to make sure he understands that, which is why he is coming to my house Saturday to meet my family, my husband, and four kids.”

Messer has publicly called on the Reds to reinstate Brennaman.

“Cincinnati wasn’t always the most welcoming city (for LBGT people),” says Messer, who helped lead an effort to repeal an anti-LGBTQ ordinance in the early 2000s. “I believe I can tell when someone is sincere and I heard that in (Brennaman’s) voice.”

Brennaman also sat down with local gay newscaster Evan Millward, who believes “We should forgive, and we largely have forgiven.”

“But you can’t just then sweep it under the rug and then place it into this whole societal cancel-culture thing,” Millward told the Post. “If we just shut people down, and tell them they’re trash and that they’re canceled, then we’re avoiding a difficult dialogue.”

For his part, Brennaman told the Post, “If I get another chance, someone will be hiring a better person than the person who walked out the door that night on August 19.”

What do you think, readers? Should it be one strike and you’re out? Or is there space to allow for redemption?

(source: New York Post)

Ellen DeGeneres Apologizes To Staff For Toxic Work Environment

Ellen DeGeneres (screen capture)

Following the announcement of an investigation into numerous reports of a toxic work environment at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen DeGeneres has reportedly emailed her staff apologizing for the alleged behind-the-scenes transgressions.

Via Variety:

DeGeneres acknowledged a culture that did not reflect the values with which she started the 17-year-old franchise, and pledged to do better. In addition, insiders familiar with the series said executive producer Ed Glavin is set to exit his role imminently.

“On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case,” DeGeneres wrote.

“I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros., we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues.

As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again,” she continued.

DeGeneres’ full note to staff:

Hey everybody – it’s Ellen. On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.

I could not have the success I’ve had without all of your contributions. My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that. Alongside Warner Bros, we immediately began an internal investigation and we are taking steps, together, to correct the issues. As we’ve grown exponentially, I’ve not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done. Clearly some didn’t. That will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again.

I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop. As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or – worse – disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.

It’s been way too long, but we’re finally having conversations about fairness and justice. We all have to be more mindful about the way our words and actions affect others, and I’m glad the issues at our show were brought to my attention. I promise to do my part in continuing to push myself and everyone around me to learn and grow. It’s important to me and to Warner Bros. that everyone who has something to say can speak up and feels safe doing so.

I am so proud of the work we do and the fun and joy we all help put out in the world. I want everyone at home to love our show and I want everyone who makes it to love working on it. Again, I’m so sorry to anyone who didn’t have that experience. If not for COVID, I’d have done this in person, and I can’t wait to be back on our stage and see you all then.

Stay safe and healthy.

Love,

Ellen

Top General Apologizes For Appearing In Lafayette Park Trump Photo

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (image via White House)

Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized for appearing in the now-infamous Lafayette Park photo opp with Donald Trump after peaceful protesters were forcibly removed from the area.

From the Washington Post:

The Pentagon’s top general apologized on Thursday for appearing alongside President Trump near the White House after authorities forcibly removed peaceful protesters from the area, saying that it “was a mistake that I have learned from.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks in a prerecorded graduation speech to students at the National Defense University. He has been roundly criticized for thrusting the military into politics by walking alongside the president on June 1 as Trump traveled on foot to a nearby church that had been damaged during protests following the police killing of George Floyd.

Milley advised the students that it is important to keep “a keen sense of situational awareness” and that he had failed to do so as he walked from Lafayette Square in combat fatigues alongside the president, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other senior advisers.

“As many of you saw the results of the photograph of me in Lafayette Square last week, that sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society,” Milley said. “I should not have been there. My presence in that moment, and in that environment, created the perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”

It takes a mature, responsible adult to admit making a mistake. Good on Milley.

NFL Admits League Was Wrong For Not Listening To Players Earlier About Racism

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (via Flickr/WEBN-TVCC License)

One day after a video titled “Stronger Together” was released by a group of NFL players calling on the league to take a stronger stance on racism in the U.S., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell posted a new video admitting the league should have listened to players sooner.

The video by NFL stars was released on Thursday and featured 18 prominent players: Davante Adams, Jamal Adams, Saquon Barkley, Anthony Barr, Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliott, Stephon Gilmore, DeAndre Hopkins, Eric Kendricks, Jarvis Landry, Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Mahomes, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Sterling Shepard, Michael Thomas, Deshaun Watson and Chase Young.

In their video, the players say in unison, “So on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players would like to hear you state. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

 

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In the new video from the NFL, Goodell speaks directly to the camera saying, “It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.”

He goes on to state, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

More from CNN:

Racism has been a persistent issue in the NFL, particularly after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games while the national anthem played to protest police brutality.

No team has offered Kaepernick a contract since 2017, which many attribute to his protests. Kaepernick accused NFL team owners of colluding to keep him from being signed. The NFL denied any collusion but in 2019, they reached a settlement with Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt with him.

Biden Apologizes For “You Ain’t Black” Remark: “I Shouldn’t Have Been So Cavalier”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (screen capture)

Former vice president Joe Biden created a firestorm today when he told a black radio host that African American voters who can’t seem to decide between voting for him and Donald Trump at this point in time “ain’t black.”

Biden apologized today saying he shouldn’t have been so ‘cavalier’ in his remarks.

From NBC News:

At the end of an 18-minute radio interview with The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne tha God airing Friday morning, Biden responded to the host’s desire for the candidate to answer more questions by saying,”You got more questions? I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

Hours later, Biden expressed regret for the remarks, calling them “really unfortunate” and saying he “shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.”

“I shouldn’t have been so cavalier in responding,” he said during a phone call with the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce Friday afternoon. “No one should have to vote for any party, based on their race or religion or background,” Biden said.

At another point on the call, Biden admitted, “I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African American folks for granted … but nothing could be further from the truth.”

“I’ve never ever done that, and I’ve earned it every time I’ve run. I was making the point that I have never taken a vote for granted,” he said.

The remark was, of course, wrong. That said, Biden quickly admitted the remarks was bone-headed and apologized – something Donald Trump could never do.

As Republicans seized on the comments, Symone Sanders, a senior adviser on the Biden campaign tweeted that the comments came at the end of the conversation and were made in jest.

Judge Apologizes For Calling Gays ‘Savages’ Who ‘Deserve’ AIDS

Judge Dan Hazard

Dan Hazard, a Maumee Municipal Court judge in Ohio, has apologized to the LGBTQ community after letters he wrote while in college calling gays “savages” who “pretty much deserve” to die of AIDS came to light this week.

Toledo’s local CBS News affiliate WTOL first reported the letters which appeared in the student newspaper at Ohio State University in 1992 and 1993.

The first letter to the editor, published December 2, 1992, he referenced gay people as ‘citizens’ (note the scare quotes) seeking equal treatment under the law.

“There has been a recent outcry on the behalf of these ‘citizens’ for equal treatment under the law,” wrote Hazard as a sophomore at OSU. “Equal treatment for people that many still think of as savages … These people think they deserve equal treatment under the law. I challenge anyone to name any civilized nation that looks at queers as ‘normal’ human beings. There just aren’t any.”

He also decried calls by the LGBTQ community for funding HIV research.

He wrote, “I suggest we cut all AIDS research funding (not AIDS education) because 95% of those inflicted with the deadly disease pretty much deserve it anyway (the homosexual community).”

About five months later, after the Gay Rights March on Washington on April 25, 1993, he penned a second letter to the editor that appeared in the April 30 edition of the student newspaper.

In that missive, he gave thanks “to the homosexual community for opening (his) eyes.” Noting that many gays had left the campus for the Washington event, he could “now see what this campus would be like with the removal of gays from our society.”

Addressing the “heterophobes polluting this campus,” he asked, “Is the homosexual lifestyle a safe one?”

He went on to quote statistics from the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council which stated the average life span of homosexuals from diseases other than AIDS was 41, something he said was “good news.”

Hazard also implored gays to “please keep your AIDS to yourselves” and added, “You have killed many innocent children.”

When contacted by WTOL for comment, Hazard issued a direct apology.

Calling his own words “reprehensible” and “deplorable,” he says they don’t represent who he is today.

Here’s his full statement:

“The letter posted here was reprehensible and deplorable.  I wrote this and another of the same tone as a teenage college student 27 years ago and by no means hold those beliefs today.  I have zero excuse and could not attempt to justify it then or now. It was hurtful to anyone that saw it in 1993 or today. I am sorry that it will hurt even more people today including my gay and transgendered family and friends whom I love dearly.

Throughout my career, I have befriended and represented many gay clients.  I have done so zealously without reservation. One of the first weddings I officiated after taking the bench was of a same sex couple.  I did so with respect and dignity. Every day I treat every litigant and attorney with that same respect no matter their background, experience or gender identity and will continue to do so.

I am glad that this allows me to clarify my views that have drastically changed over time.  Respect is owed not only in the courtroom, but in all of society.”

I wanted to note that it caught this writer’s ear while watching the WTOL report that news anchor Andrew Kinsey referred to Hazard’s remarks saying “some call homophobic.”

Hazard had called gays “savages” who “deserved” to get AIDS and die. I think that’s straight-up homophobic language.

What do you think, readers? Is the apology acceptable given the 27 years since Hazard made the comments? And that he offers such a strenuous mea culpa?

Or was the language so strident it’s difficult to believe he did a 180-degree turn from those noxious attitudes?

Let us know what you think in the comment section.

(Source: WTOL)

Burger King Apologizes After Employee Refused To Read Ingredients To Blind Customer

Oh, FFS… whatever happened to decency?

From Insider.com:

Burger King has issued an apology to a blind customer after staff refused to tell her the ingredients of a brownie out loud.

After Hall told the staff about her nut allergy, she said, they claimed “company policy” meant she had to read the menu herself.

“I was shocked,” Hall told BBC. “Had I eaten it and it had nuts in, I would’ve had a major asthma attack and ended up in a hospital. In today’s day and age, you’d think they would want to read it and get it right.”

Burger King has since said there was no such policy and the company is “looking into this matter further,” as reported by BBC. The incident occurred at the fast-food chain’s Folkestone branch, located in Kent, a south-eastern county in England.

 

(photo: Burger King by JeepersMedia is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

NYC Police Commissioner Officially Apologizes For Stonewall Riots

The producers of WorldPride 2019 | Stonewall 50 have publicly asked for the New York City Police Department to officially apologize for the violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.
The historic Stonewall Inn (photo by annulla is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Is it ever too late to apologize?

The producers of WorldPride 2019 | Stonewall 50 have publicly asked for the New York City Police Department to officially apologize for the violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969.

The brutal raids in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, led to what has become known as the Stonewall Uprising as drag queens, gays, lesbians, and transgender people fought back leading to more protests against police brutality. The event is credited for giving birth to the modern-day LGBTQ movement.

The Executive Board of Heritage Pride, Inc., the organization responsible for producing over 25 events in New York City celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, issued a statement which read, in part:

“Last night, we voted unanimously to demand that the NYPD formally apologize to the LGBTQIA+ community for the violent police raid that triggered the Stonewall Uprising. We offer our stage at the Stonewall 50 Commemoration Rally on Friday, June 28, 2019 for Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill to do so on behalf of the Department.”

The statement acknowledged “significant strides” made by the NYPD under Commissioner O’Neill, but asks the Department to “take responsibility for the decades of police violence committed against” the LGBTQ community in New York City.

The executive board added that the “small, albeit meaningful step” of an apology would demonstrate “what is possible for the future of our community and our movement.”

“Commissioner O’Neill and the NYPD, the eyes of the world are on our city, and we call upon you to show what real change can look like,” the board wrote in closing. “The platform is yours on June 28th.”

In an interview with radio station 1010WINS, openly gay City Council Speaker Corey Johnson also called for an apology.

“The NYPD in the past has apologized for other incidents that have occurred, and so I think the NYPD apologizing on this would be a very, very good thing, and it’s something they should do,” explained Johnson.

“I would love for it happen this month, and I will bring it up to the police commissioner,” Johnson continued. “Because I think it would be an important step toward further healing and reconciliation and recognizing what happened in that crucial moment, and not just in American history, but New York history in June of 1969.”

When reached for comment regarding an apology to the LGBTQ community, Commissioner O’Neill told 1010WINS, “The NYPD of today is much different than the department of 50 years ago, and a number of important changes have been implemented that bring the police and all the communities we serve closer together.”

With an estimated three million people expected to travel from around the world to New York City for the WorldPride events, O’Neill said, “We are looking forward to the many events surrounding this year’s milestone anniversary, and to working with all attendees to ensure that everyone not only is safe, but feels safe, too.”

This isn’t the first time the idea of an apology from the NYPD has been floated.

Back in June 2017, at an event hosted by the NYC Bar Association, an attendee in the audience asked O’Neill if he would “apologize for the discrimination and violence” that occurred at the historic raid.

“I think that’s been addressed already,” replied O’Neill. “We’re moving forward.”

But this morning, Eric Bottcher, chief of staff for Speaker Johnson, tweeted that O’Neill formally apologized to the LGBTQ community at the first ever NYPD LGBTQ Pride Month Community Safety Briefing this morning.

“I’m certainly not going to be an expert of what happened at Stonewall,” O’Neill told the press. “The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong … and for that I apologize.”

From The New York Times:

“I think it would be irresponsible to go through World Pride month and not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969,” Mr. O’Neill said.

“What happened should not have happened. The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong, plain and simple,” he added.

“The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize.”

NY State: Town Clerk Forced To Apologize For Refusing Marriage License To Gay Couple

Town clerk Sherrie Eriksen apologizes for denying gay couple a marriage license
Town clerk Sherrie Eriksen apologizes for denying gay couple a marriage license

On July 30 last summer, Thomas Hurd and Dylan Toften went to the office of their town clerk in Root, New York, to obtain a marriage license.

Instead of a joyful, upbeat episode in their lives, the men were dismayed to be turned down by town clerk Sherrie Eriksen.

She put the couple off saying they couldn’t get a marriage license because they didn’t make an appointment before coming to the office, according to WRAL.

She also told the men that she has a personal objection to same-sex marriage.

That’s despite the fact that New York state legalized marriage equality in 2011, and the U.S. Supreme Court made it the law of the land in 2015.

Toften took to social media at the time to share the incident writing, “Town of Root clerk is a bigot!!! Refused to do our marriage license. She said make an appointment to have her deputy do it… do your job Andrew Cuomo.”

Gov. Cuomo responded to the post by tweeting, “Marriage equality is our law in NY. The denial of a license to a same sex couple is an unconscionable act of discrimination. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I’d like to congratulate Dylan & his future husband on their marriage.”

Several town meetings were held, an investigation was launched, and a lawsuit was threatened by the couple, according to WRGB News.

In the end, an agreement was reached: the town of Root would pay the men $25,000 plus Eriksen would personally deliver a public apology.

And so it came to be on Wednesday afternoon that Eriksen, standing in front of news cameras and town leaders at the weekly town meeting, made her apology.

“In my capacity as town clerk, it is my responsibility to provide marriage licenses to all couples, regardless of sex or sexual orientation, so long as they meet all applicable New York state requirements,” she began. “As such, my office and I will personally will issue marriage licenses to any couple without exception, who is legally entitled to be issued one.”

Her voice wavering a bit, she continued, “On July 30th of last year, there was an unfortunate incident involving Mr Thomas Hurd and Mr Dylan Toften, who came to my office seeking a marriage license.”

“I am sorry for any harm or inconvenience my actions caused the couple, thank you,” she concluded.

Here’s the video via local CBS News anchor Emily DeFeciani:

Hurd and Toften eventually received a marriage license from another town and were married on August 18.

The couple told WRGB that they’re proud they stood up for marriage equality.

“If we had never stood our ground, how many more people would’ve had to go through this?” Toften said.

Dylan Toften and Thomas Hurd (image via Facebook)

High School Bully Apologizes To His Victim Years Later

Egyptian/Canadian model and body positive activist Mina Gerges shared with his Twitter followers a surprise apology he received from his high school bully.
Mina Gerges (image via Instagram)

Egyptian/Canadian model and body positive activist Mina Gerges shared with his Twitter followers a surprise apology he received from his high school bully.

The screen capture of the message read, “Hey man, I just want to apologize for any f*cked up things I said to you or about you in high school. It weighs on me. I hope all is well. Cheers.”

Gerges followed up saying he asked the former bully why he was thinking on his actions eight years later.

“He said he felt really bad about it for a while, should’ve been kinder instead, and wished he’d done it sooner,” wrote Gerges. “We love growth!”

Gerges, who has a following of over 110K on Instagram, stepped into the public spotlight in 2015 thanks to his ‘budget conscious’ recreations of celebrity looks. His looks were featured on a host of media outlets including Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue, Paper and more.

A post shared by Mina Gerges (@itsminagerges) on Dec 24, 2014 at 6:42pm PST

With the spotlight, though, came haters who bullied him for his weight, which led to an eating disorder.

Eventually, the trolls inspired Gerges to become an ambassador for body positivity and unrealistic standards of beauty in advertising.

“My goal is to redefine what it means for men to feel beautiful and be considered attractive,” he told Paper. “I want to show that men who look like me can learn to love ourselves even if we don’t look like conventional representations of men.”

From moving past bullies and online trolls to inspiring folks with a message of body positivity. Mina Gerges, I love YOUR kind of growth!

A few years ago, my first serious boyfriend from my 20s emailed me apologizing for the way he treated me. It had been a somewhat tumultuous relationship.

“You didn’t deserve that,” he wrote.

While I felt I’d resolved any issues with the relationship and moved on, I was surprised the message left me a bit breathless.

I didn’t know it until I read the message how much power an apology – years later – could hold.

It was very appreciated.

Readers, have you ever received an apology from the past? If so, did it help heal some old wounds or no? Let me know in the comments below.

(h/t Gay Star News)