Stop The Hate: 49 Celebrities Honor The 49 Victims Of Orlando Nightclub Shooting

From the Human Rights Campaign:

The attack on Pulse nightclub has tragically become a symbol of how deadly anti-LGBTQ hate can become when it is combined with easy access to military-style assault weapons. In the wake of the attack in Orlando, HRC has been joined by a wide range of civil rights leaders in speaking out against laws and politicians who foment hate against LGBTQ people. HRC has also called on Congress to establish protections for LGBTQ people in all fifty states through the Equality Act and officially adopted a resolution in support of common-sense gun violence prevention legislation that will help ensure LGBTQ people and all Americans are safe and equal in every community.

“The 49 heroes who lost their lives on June 12 were brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives. They were mostly young and mostly Latinx. But above all, they were human beings who were loved, and who had hopes and dreams for long, full lives,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “It has been only a few short weeks since we lost 49 people to a deadly act of hatred. It is our responsibility to keep their memories alive and honor their legacies by ensuring our nation acts to end anti-LGBTQ hate and gun violence. We are incredibly grateful to Ryan Murphy, Ned Martel and the 49 artists who came together to create this beautiful and lasting tribute.”

In the aftermath of the Orlando tragedy, Murphy asked how he could help drive awareness about the dual epidemics of anti-LGBTQ hate violence and gun violence that, together, claimed so many lives at Pulse nightclub. The result was this moving tribute, filmed over the course of three days, at FOX Studios in Los Angeles.

“The hate that stole these 49 individuals from all those who loved them has been allowed to flourish in our country for too long,” said Ryan Murphy, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter, director and producer. “No person is born hating another, and we have an obligation as Americans to stand up against prejudice and bigotry that would incite violence against someone simply for who they are. I am proud to have joined with Ned Martel, my talented colleagues, and the Human Rights Campaign to honor these 49 heroes and stop the hate.”

Brief vignettes recounted by leading performers and entertainment leaders tell the stories of all 49 victims (in order of appearance): Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27; Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Juan Pablo Rivera Velazquez, 37; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24; Franky Jimmy De Jesús Velazquez, 50; Juan Chavez-Martinez, 25; Jerald Arthur Wright, 31; Antonio Davon Brown, 29; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25; ‘K.J.’ Morris, 37; Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Frankie Hernandez, 27; Akyra Monet Murray, 18; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 31; Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24; Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24; Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33; Paul Terrell Henry, 41; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25; Amanda Alvear, 25; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Angel Luis Candelario-Padro, 28; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25; Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Cory James Connell, 21; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; and Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32.

Their stories are told by (in order of appearance): Lady Gaga, Chris Pine, Cuba Gooding Jr., Connie Britton, Matt Bomer, Sarah Paulson, Angela Bassett, Lea Michele, Colton Haynes, Sophia Bush, Jane Fonda, Harry Shum Jr., Denis O’Hare, Rob Reiner, Melissa Benoist, Caitlyn Jenner, Edgar Ramirez, Max Greenfield, Chaz Bono, Cheyenne Jackson, Emma Roberts, Kerry Washington, George Lopez, Evan Rachel Wood, Sofía Vergara, Diego Boneta, Nina Jacobson, Demi Lovato, Tyler Oakley, Yeardley Smith, Kid Cudi, Kaitlin Olson, Kevin McHale, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lee Daniels, Chace Crawford, Evan Peters, Gerard Butler, Katey Sagal, John Stamos, Laverne Cox, Jordana Brewster, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, Darren Criss, Kathy Bates, Anna Paquin, Guillermo Díaz and Joe Mantello.

FBI: No Evidence Found That Orlando Shooter Was Gay

In the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting, several people have come forward saying they had had contact with the shooter, Omar Mateen, on gay dating apps.

The FBI says they’ve found nothing to substantiate the claims.

From the L.A. Times:

The FBI has found no evidence so far to support claims by those who say Mateen had gay lovers or communicated on gay dating apps, several law enforcement officials said.

In seeking to verify the reports, federal agents have culled Mateen’s electronic devices, including a laptop computer and cellphone, as well as electronic communications of those who made the claims, law enforcement officials said.

So far, they have found no photographs, no text messages, no smartphone apps, no gay pornography and no cell-tower location data to suggest that Mateen — who was twice married to women and had a young son — conducted a secret gay life, the officials said.

The LA Times does go on to say that it’s possible Mateen had another phone or electronic device onwhich he might have used gay dating apps.

Additionally, while Mateen proclaimed allegiance to ISIS during the massacre, the FBI says it has found no direct link between Mateen and the Islamic State.

#RestInPRIDE Honors Orlando Shooting Victims

I have no words. Beyond beautiful.

#RestInPRIDE

Via press release:

With the recent tragedy of 49 innocent lives lost at the LGBT nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, FL on June 12, 2016, the global community was left to mourn those unjustly taken by hate. As we continue to grieve in the wake of the Orlando tragedy, it is important to confront hate face-to-face and let the LGBT community and allies know they are not alone. #RestInPRIDE is one of the first call-to-action campaigns created to spread a message of love and support to people who are feeling alone or scared to live proudly.

Through sharing uplifting video messages with heart, #RestInPRIDE continues the important conversation about the victims and those affected by senseless acts of violence taking place on a daily basis. The artistic video features 49 different shared Pride memories honoring the 49 victims, including voices of various ethnicities, genders, ages, sexual orientations and people directly affected by the Orlando tragedy. The video ends with a montage of the participants putting rainbow-style “war paint” on their faces as a symbol that action needs to be taken.

Celebrities and influencers also participated in the campaign including actress Rumer Willis, actor Wilson Cruz, Olympian and HIV/AIDS advocate Greg Louganis and transgender actress and “I Am Cait” star Candis Cayne.

A vocal track of the song “Light” from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Musical Next to Normal serves as a backdrop to the video, and was recorded by artist Brian Justin Crum. All proceeds of the track, written by Tom Kitt, will go directly to the OneOrlando Fund. “Light” can be available for purchase on iTunes.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED: We ask that you please record and upload a video of your proudest memory on the @RestInPRIDE Facebook page with #RestInPRIDE utilizing rainbow “war paint”* like those in the main video, encourage others to share their moments to make their voices heard and show the Orlando community support at OneOrlando. Hear their names, see their faces, feel their stories and know the lives of our 49 brothers and sisters were not lost in vain but live on in the collective heart of our community.

Man Claims To Be Former Lover Of Orlando Nightclub Shooter

Another twist in the Orlando nightclub shooting that left 49 dead and 53 hospitalized: Univision has interviewed a man who claims he had a sexual relationship with the shooter, Omar Mateen, and that the massacre was motivated by personal revenge against the Latino LGBT community.

From Mediaite:

“The thing that makes me want to tell the truth is that he didn’t do it for terrorism. In my opinion he did it for revenge,” a man who asked to be referred to as “Miguel” told Univision Noticias anchor Maria Elena Salinas. Miguel appeared in the interview wearing a disguise.

Miguel described the killer, Omar Mateen, as having been wracked with self-loathing about his sexual orientation, resentment against gay Latinos, and an alcohol problem. He said that he and Mateen met on the gay dating app Grindr the year before and described the two-month-long relationship as one of “friends with benefits.” It ended in December, when Miguel moved away from Orlando. He said Mateen enjoyed being cuddled and described him as “affectionate” and “sweet.”

Following an assignation with two Puerto Rican men, one of them revealed to Mateen after the fact that he was HIV positive and Mateen became incensed, Miguel said. “He was terrified that he was infected,” Miguel said. “I asked him, ‘Did you do a test?’ Yes. He went to the pharmacy and did the test … it came out negative but it doesn’t come out right away. It takes four, five months.”

“‘I’m going to make them pay for what they did to me,’” Miguel recalled Mateen telling him.

“He adored Latinos, gay Latinos, with brown skin – but he felt rejected. He felt used by them – there were moments in the Pulse nightclub that made him feel really bad. Guys used him. That really affected him,” Miguel said. “I believe this crazy horrible thing he did – that was revenge.”

The FBI confirmed to Univision that they had met with Miguel, and Miguel claimed that he had been interviewed by agents in-person three times.

Apparently, the two men met 15-20 times over the two month period. More info at Univision.


Orlando Son Pays Tribute To Mother Who Protected Him At Orlando Nightclub Shooting

ABC News reports on an emotional moment today when a son eulogized his mother who protected him from harm at the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting.

Brenda Lee Marquez-McCool was dancing with her son Isaiah Henderson at Pulse nightclub when shots rang out over the blaring music.

Instead of running away, she threw herself on her son, shielding him from shooter Omar Mateen. She saved her son’s life but lost her own.

At her funeral at the First United Methodist Church of Orlando today, Henderson, 21, broke down as he paid heartfelt tribute to his mother, almost unable to stand while he spoke.

“I never thought that her life would be ended right in front of my eyes,” he said, sobbing. “My mother accepted everyone with open arms. She loved everybody equally, no matter what.”

His brothers rushed to the pulpit to hold him up and console him.

“I haven’t stopped crying since,” Henderson said.

(h/t JMG)

Fort Worth Pastor On Orlando Shooting Survivors: “I Pray That God Will Finish The Job”

I think a lot of people don’t really believe these hateful folks exist.

But they do. Each one gets more and more scary.

And THIS one is from my own hometown.

Raw Story has the grim details:

Pastor Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth told his flock he agrees “100 percent” with Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez, who made news with his sermon advocating that the government should use a firing squad to “blow their brains out.”

“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now,” Romero said in the Sunday sermon.

“And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.”

Romero’s church has been named by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group.

Donald Trump Walks Back ‘Guns In Nightclub’ Statement

Last week, Donald Trump said that if the folks in the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando had more guns, the outcome would not have been so grim.

A day after the attack, he told radio host Howie Carr: “It’s too bad that some of the young people that were killed over the weekend didn’t have guns, you know, attached to their hips, frankly, and you know where bullets could have flown in the opposite direction, Howie. It would have been a much different deal. I mean, it sounded like there were no guns. They had a security guard. Other than that there were no guns in the room. Had people been able to fire back, it would have been a much different outcome.”

And he said this in a campaign appearance:

Today, he’s walking that back…

Hundreds Protest Sacramento Pastor Roger “Blow The Gays’ Brains Out” Jimenez

“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? No. I think that’s great.”

Those are just some of the words used by Pastor Roger Jimenez last Sunday when he praised the massacre of LGBT people at Orlando nightclub.

From the Sacramento Bee:

More than 500 people gathered early Sunday morning outside the Sacramento church where last week a pastor gave an inflammatory sermon praising the massacre of LGBT people in an Orlando nightclub.

Chants of “Love conquers hate” rang out when worshippers walked down the police-protected entrance to Verity Baptist church in an office park on Northgate Boulevard.

Protesters with megaphones urged peace and non-violent protest when a man with a “Gay = pervert” sign approached the police barricade to debate the crowd.

Last Sunday, after news broke of the Orlando mass shooting, the worst in U.S. history, Jimenez told his congregants that he wished the shooter had killed more people in the gay nightclub Pulse. He said God has put a death sentence on gay people.

“There’s no tragedy,” Jimenez said. “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put a firing squad in front of them, and blow their brains out.”


Broadway Luminaries Sing “What The World Needs Now” For Orlando

Dozens of Broadway luminaries, along with a 22 member orchestra, have recorded a benefit single for the LGBT Center of Central Florida as a tribute to the victims of last week’s shooting in Orlando, which took the lives of 49 people and hospitalized 53 more.

The single, a cover of Burt Bacharach’s classic “What the World Needs Now is Love” was produced in conjunction with Playbill.

Among those taking part:

Sara Bareilles, Kristen Bell, Wayne Brady, Matthew Broderick, Andréa Burns, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Len Cariou, Paul Castree, Michael Cerveris, Joshua Colley, Lilla Crawford, Carmen Cusack, Darius de Haas, Fran Drescher, Gloria Estefan, Christopher Fitzgerald, Kimiko Glenn, Whoopi Goldberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Sean Hayes, Heather Headley, Nina Hennessy, Megan Hilty, James Monroe Iglehart, Bill Irwin, Carole King, Judy Kuhn, Nathan Lane, Anika Larsen, Jennifer Lewis, Zachary Levi, Jose Llana, Rebecca Luker, Andrea Martin, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Janet Metz, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Donna Murphy, Rosie O’Donnell, Kelli O’Hara, Rory O’Malley, Orfeh, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Keala Settle, Kate Shindle, Jennifer Simard, Will Swenson, Rachel Tucker, Tommy Tune, Jonah Verdon, Lillias White, Marissa Jaret Winokur, B.D. Wong and Tony Yazbeck.

Just a rough guess, but it looks like around 55 Tony Awards among them all. Wow.

The single is currently available at BroadwayRecords.com and soon on iTunes. All proceeds will go to benefit the LGBT Center for Central Florida.

Broadway Records President Van Dean, musical director/SiriusXM Radio personality Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley headed up the Broadway for Orlando project, according to Playbill.

Said Rudetsky:

“The Broadway community was so terribly shaken and devastated by the horrific tragedy in Orlando. Everyone wanted to do something as quickly as possible that would truly make a difference. On Monday, my husband James woke me up at 7:30 AM and suggested we rally our friends and colleagues to do a ‘We Are the World’ type recording and raise money for the victims and their families. We started making calls and suddenly we had tons of theatre actors along with an orchestra and the services of a fully-staffed recording studio, all willing to donating their time and talent. Our community of artists has banded together as we always do to show we can end this cycle of violence and intolerance. Love WILL prevail!”