By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com September 24 2011 12:37 PM ET
Bristol Palin isn't homophobic no matter what the gay man she confronted at a bar in West Hollywood says, a spokesperson insisted on Friday.
Palin got into a shouting match with 47-year-old Stephen Hanks at a bar in West Hollywood on Thursday night. And cameras were there to catch the whole thing as part of Palin's reality TV show. She is seen confronting a man who taunted her by yelling, "Your mother's a whore," and then accusing him in return of hating Sarah Palin because he is "a homosexual."
"The situation ended with no incident, and accusing her of homophobia is completely unfounded and totally misstates her views," a representative for Bristol Palin toldTMZ, which broke the story.
The man at the bar — 47-year-old Stephen Hanks — said during a follow-up interview with TMZ that the younger Palin's reaction was evidence of bigotry because of the way she brought being gay into the fight, and the way she said "homosexual."
Reaction online to the argument has ranged from taking sides, to blaming both, and to some saying the whole thing was staged (Hanks says he is just a regular guy and wasn't a plant).
Hanks called Sarah Palin the "devil" during the fight, which Bristol Palin visibly took exception to, only to go on Facebook later with this comment: "Always amazes me how evil people can be."
But if being called homophobic "totally misstates her views," then what are her views? Bristol Palin has an ambiguous relationship with the LGBT community. She was criticized during her stint on Dancing With the Stars for making a joke about lesbians as part of a back-and-forth dispute with fellow contestant and comedian Margaret Cho. Bristol Palin was defending her mom again when it happened.
"You say you 'don't agree with the family's politics at all' but I say, if you understood that commonsense conservative values supports the right of individuals like you, like all of us, to live our lives with less government interference and more independence, you would embrace us faster than KD Lang at an Indigo Girls concert," Bristol Palin wrote to Cho in a Facebook note.
After the show ended, bloggers actually debated the plausibility that a National Enquirer story could be true in its suggestion that a rift between Bristol Palin and her mother had developed because the younger Palin is more accepting of marriage equality. Bristol Palin hasn't actually said anything to suggest it's true and obviously still defends her mother.
She once claimed to have learned a lesson about the pitfalls of defending Mom. When younger sister, Willow, used a gay slur to insult someone on Facebook, it was Bristol Palin who stepped in to clean up.
"Willow and I shouldn't have reacted to negative comments about our family. We apologize," Bristol Palin wrote on Facebook in November.