No, Stephen Colbert is not homophobic. And LGBT people, for the most part, are not outraged over his oral sex joke about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
The Late Show host is a longtime and reliable LGBT ally. But some viewers, especially Trump supporters, are calling him and the joke homophobic, and lambasting him on Twitter using the hashtag #FireColbert.
The joke came in Colbert’s Monday night monologue, in which he denounced the lack of respect Trump showed to a fellow CBS employee, journalist John Dickerson, in an interview broadcast Sunday on Face the Nation. Trump called the program “Deface the Nation,” claimed that Dickerson reports “fake news,” refused to answer certain questions, and ended the interview prematurely, walking away to shuffle papers on his desk.
Colbert said Dickerson was too dignified to insult Trump in kind, but he wasn’t, so he let loose with a string of insults, including “You talk like a sign language gorilla who got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.” The word “cock” was bleeped on television.
Many have joked about the cozy relationship between Trump and the Russian president, whose government is under investigation for possible interference in the U.S. presidential election. But Colbert’s joke set off a Twitter storm, mostly from Trump supporters, including conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, although an occasional prominent LGBT person joined in.
Stephen Colbert to Trump: "What does Putin's dick taste like?"
Colbert has history of homophobic slurs!https://t.co/gRYkMjK0nA
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 3, 2017
It's amazing how the Media flips out over someone giving OK sign, but is normalizing homophobic bigotry of Stephen Colbert.#FireColbert
— Tennessee (@TEN_GOP) May 3, 2017
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) May 3, 2017
— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) May 3, 2017
However, many defended Colbert, and some hijacked the #FireColbert hashtag to do so.
— Just Sylvan Please (@sylvan_wolf) May 3, 2017
— Adam Sank (@AdamSank) May 3, 2017
— Jemaine Clement (@AJemaineClement) May 3, 2017
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 3, 2017
Colbert and CBS have not responded publicly to the controversy. But most LGBT people are reserving their outrage for the real outrages. Trump has yet to respond to the violence against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, a semiautonomous republic within Russia, and Putin’s government is in denial about it. Army secretary nominee Mark Green is the latest of many anti-LGBT picks put forward by Trump. And the president reportedly will issue an anti-LGBT “religious freedom” executive order Thursday — which will give individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and even government employees a broad exemption from antidiscrimination laws, as long as they claim their discrimination against LGBT people or anyone else is rooted in religious beliefs.