Gay commentator and radio talk-show host Michelangelo Signorile has apologized for making an analogy between voting for Mitt Romney and committing suicide when a Romney supporter called his show this week.
A gay man from Utah named Wess called in Wednesday and told Signorile he cast his ballot for Romney in early voting. Signorile then detailed the differences between Obama and Romney on LGBT issues and told the caller that instead of voting for Romney, “it would have been much easier to go to the store and buy some arsenic and make a potion and take it. … That would have been much easier than, you know, waiting for the slow, painful death that Mitt Romney will bring.” Signorile also told Wess that he should not vote because of his lack of correct information on the candidates and added, “Go to the drugstore. There are plenty of things you can get. It’ll put you to sleep really, really easily.”
On blogs and on Twitter, many took Signorile to task for his statements, noting the prevalence of suicide among LGBT youth and saying there would have been a much stronger outcry if a conservative had said something similar. “Imagine if it had been Limbaugh,” wrote Andrew Sullivan in his column on The Daily Beast. “Wouldn’t every gay group be assailing him for hate speech?”
Today Signorile posted an apology on his website, saying, “I began an analogy in the wrong place.” He made the comment, he said, “not because I thought he should kill himself — I do not think gay Romney supporters should kill themselves — but because voting for someone who is committed to undermining your rights is a self-destructive behavior.”
He said that after talking with friends and reading Sullivan’s post, “I can now see that my statement was not just jarring but offensive — certainly in the current climate of gay teen suicides. Sullivan is not some far-right gay Romney supporter; indeed, Sullivan and I are on the same side in the current political climate.”
Signorile also noted that, as a New York resident, he was suffering “hurricane fatigue” and was concerned about family and friends. He said that was no excuse for his comment, but “it was a recipe for total botch up. And I botched this one. My apologies to Wess, and to my listeners.”
Signorile, a veteran journalist and outspoken commentator, was recently honored as one of this year’s Out 100 by The Advocate’s sister publication Out.