The New Republic has apologized after publishing an article about Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg that was criticized for being homophobic and deeply offensive.
Penned by gay writer Dale Peck, the column, “My Mayor Pete Problem,” questioned Buttigieg’s sexual behavior, repeatedly referred to him as “Mary Pete,” and called him the “gay equivalent of Uncle Tom.”
Peck wrote in the article that Buttigieg shouldn’t be president because he would act like a sexually promiscuous “gay teenager” in the White House due to not coming out until his 30s.
“The only thing that distinguishes the mayor of South Bend from all those other well-educated reasonably intelligent white dudes who wanna be president is what he does with his dick (and possibly his ass, although I get a definite top-by-default vibe from him, which is to say that I bet he thinks about getting fucked but he’s too uptight to do it),” Peck wrote.
“So let’s dish the dish, homos,” he continued. “You know and I know that Mary Pete is a gay teenager. He’s a fifteen-year-old boy in a Chicago bus station wondering if it’s a good idea to go home with a fifty-year-old man so that he’ll finally understand what he is.
“He’s been out for, what, all of four years, and if I understand the narrative, he married the first guy he dated. And we all know what happens when gay people don’t get a real adolescence because they spent theirs in the closet: they go through it after they come out.”
Peck said that “the last thing I want in the White House is a gay man staring down 40 who suddenly realizes he didn’t get to have all the fun his straight peers did when they were teenagers.”
The article was heavily criticized on social media after it was posted on Friday, July 12.
“I get satire and appreciate pithy, but this @newrepublic shock piece by Dale Peck on Pete Buttigieg where one gay man tears down another with (among other things) a ‘Mary Pete’ moniker is just pathetic,” Amee Vanderpool tweeted.
Due to the intense backlash, The New Republic pulled the article from its website mere hours after it went live, with an editor’s note saying it was deleted “in response to criticism of the piece’s inappropriate and invasive content.”
“We regret its publication,” the note read.
TNR‘s editor-in-chief Win McCormack issued a statement via Twitter offering “sincerest apologies” to Buttigieg and calling the article “inappropriate and offensive.”
“We have high standards at The New Republic, but sometimes we fall short,” McCormack said, adding, “Yesterday we made a mistake, but we remain committed to honoring the tradition of high standards and journalistic integrity that have been the hallmark of The New Republic for more than 100 years.”
Chris Lehmann, editor of TNR, told CNN that the magazine “recognizes that this post crossed a line, and while it was largely intended as satire, it was inappropriate and invasive.”
Speaking to the Associated Press, Buttigieg refrained from attacking The New Republic, instead saying he appreciated that the article was taken down. “I don’t think it really reflects the New Republic that I know,” he added.
Asked how he would respond to questions about “whether you’re gay enough,” Buttigieg responded, “You know, there’s not gonna be an answer for everybody. The best way I’ve found to deal with that is to just be myself and let other people worry about whether it’s enough.”
As for Dale Peck, the writer of the article, the gay novelist initially ignored the controversy, writing that he was “going to the beach” and “out to dinner with some friends” while Twitter was in meltdown over his article.
“I usually try to respond to all the birthday wishes but my page is a bit of a mess today for some reason, so if I miss your post please don’t take it personally. Wink wink. Wah wah,” he wrote on Facebook.
But in a follow-up tweet on Sunday, Peck said he had received “death threats” over the article.
“Apologies to all the people who sent me legitimate friend requests in the past couple of days,” he wrote. “You can probably understand why I don’t want to go through them all to find out who’s real and who just wants to make sure their death threats make it to my inbox.”
Meanwhile, The New Republic has pulled out co-sponsoring a presidential climate summit in the wake of the article controversy.
Announced last week, the summit — co-hosted with Gizmodo — would have compelled the candidates to discuss climate issues and what they would do to combat climate change.
TNR withdrew from its co-hosting duties after three sponsors announced that they would no longer participate in the forum following the publication of Dale Peck’s article.
Gizmodo, announcing the news, slammed TNR for publishing Peck’s “offensive, homophobic attack” on Buttigieg.
“In light of these events, The New Republic is withdrawing its participation from our recently announced 2020 Democratic presidential forum on climate change, a decision that Gizmodo supports,” Gizmodo said. “This incident was entirely inconsistent with our values as journalists and with the inclusive atmosphere we intend to foster at the event.”