McInnes cofounded Rooster in 2010 as an agency that would "make ads for people who hate ads," notes AdWeek. But in the wake of a public social media campaign calling on Rooster's clients — including Vans, Pepsi, RedBull, Microsoft, and Fox Sports — to cut ties with the agency or face a boycott over its cofounder's unapologetic hatred, McInnes was asked to take an indefinite leave of absence from his role as chief creative officer as the agency determines how best to address the situation.
"Gavin's views are his own and do not represent those of the company or its members," a Rooster representative told AdWeek Friday. "We are extremely disappointed with his actions and have asked that he take a leave of absence while we determine the most appropriate course of action."
ThoughtCatalog, the outlet that published McInnes' article titled "Transphobia Is Perfectly Natural," has placed McInnes's article behind a full-screen warning message explaining that "the article you are trying to read has been reported by the community as hateful or abusive content," though readers can click "continue" to see the article in its entirety.
For his part, McInnes, who also cofounded Vice magazine but is no longer affiliated with the publication, has refused to genuinely apologize for authoring the piece that is so vitriolic some speculated it might be satire.
In fact, McInnes's own Twitter account over the past week confirms that he stands by the views he expressed in the article. Responding to a particularly vocal critic over Twitter, McInnes allegedly emailed Twitter user Shadi Petosky, asking if Petosky was responsible for contacting Rooster clients and urging them to cut ties with the agency. According to a screen shot of an email thread Petosky posted, McInnes then asked, "Are you a post op tranny? Do you still have a dick? If not, you're a very eccentric gay man who likes to pretend he's 'trans' because it makes him feel like some kind of civil rights crusader."
After defending his article, which he originally tweeted with the claim that "by combatting 'transphobia' you're encouraging mentally ill people to mutilate themselves," McInnes took aim at his critics with a sarcastic apology on Saturday.
I'd like to formally apologize to all the trannies threatening to kill my family and "eat me alive." You are NOT mentally ill.
— Gavin McInnes (@Gavin_McInnes) August 16, 2014
While most comments and social media campaigns directed at McInnes in response to his article have been negative, McInnes proudly touted a recent blog post by trans woman Justine Tunney in his defense. Here's that promotional tweet from McInnes, published Monday morning:
I knew I would be vindicated (by a tranny no less) and all you PC fascists would look like fools. https://t.co/NAONmg1Gtd
— Gavin McInnes (@Gavin_McInnes) August 18, 2014
Tunney says she wasn't offended by the original piece, because she "honestly [doesn't] care what [McInnes] thinks about trans women." Instead, Tunney said she felt triggered by the response to the ThoughtCatalog article "because Mister McInnes' crucifixion at the hands of the bloodthirsty progressive mob, brings back traumatic memories of the times when I received the same treatment. I’m also triggered by the loss of freedom in our society, as the list of people persecuted for thoughtcrime in our society grows longer and longer."
The controversial piece in ThoughtCatalog was by no means the first time McInnes has expressed transphobic views. In an appearance on Fox News's late-night program Red Eye in January, McInnes used a discussion about a mobile app that lets kids report bullying as it happens, to slur a transgender scientist and inventor who killed herself over the course of an intrusive Grantland reporter's queries into her personal background in a story supposedly about about a "magical" golf putter she had created.
"When these teenagers kill themselves from bullying, or anyone, like that tranny in the golf-putter story who killed itself recently," McInnes began his rant, apparently confusing fellow guest Ann Coulter.
"There's a tranny named Dr. V who discovered a putter, and someone got too close in the investigation," McInnes explained to Coulter, going on to misgender the late scientist.
It's worth noting that the show's token libertarian, Andy Levy, did try to correct the misgendering, muttering "she" under his breath.
Still confused about the connection between a transgender woman and a golf putter, Coulter asked how the two were connected.
"Because the dude happened to be a transvestite, and the journalist started asking questions, she — we'll say she — got freaked out and killed herself," McInnes explains.
McInnes then goes on to apparently allude to the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, a gay freshman at New Jersey's Rutgers University who committed suicide after his roommate secretly videotaped a romantic encounter between Clementi and another man. McInness, however, refers to Clementi as "that gay kid at NYU," then critiques those who criticized Clementi's former roommate for publishing video of the intimate encounter online, and implies that Clementi's parents failed in raising him to stand up for himself.
"They go, oh, you shouldn't have videotaped him," laments McInnes. "Well, first, it's the parents for not saying 'If a guy bugs you, right, just get him right in the nose, keep going for the nose,'" said McInnes, pantomiming punches. "Even if you lose, it's not gonna be a problem again..."
"You know, someday we'll look back on the good old days when kids killed themselves because they were bullied," says Levy morosely. Watch the episode in question here, with the transphobic remarks beginning at the 37:00 mark.