A Delaware GOP leader has announced he will resign from his position, but will not apologize, after using an anti-gay slur in a Facebook comment.
New Castle County Republican Party Chairman Chris Rowe made the comment after Facebook removed a video he was trying to share of a recent church shooting in Texas where the shooter was killed by the proverbial “good man with a gun” (thus serving as evidence that gun control is unnecessary).
In response, Rowe wrote: “faggots cannot handle reality. Bad guy loses, FB [Facebook] pisses themselves.”
Facebook — along with YouTube and Twitter — has previously removed video of other shootings, not to make a statement on gun control, but in order to prevent “harmful” content from being shared and stop others from committing so-called “copycat” crimes.
Rowe’s comments were discovered by the liberal blog Blue Delaware, which captured a screenshot of the offending post and shared it, calling for Rowe’s resignation.
Following outcry over the anti-gay slur, Rowe said he would not apologize. In a post on the New Castle County GOP’s Facebook page, Rowe defended his use of the term, saying he made the remark “in anger” toward Facebook for restricting access to the video of the shooting as part of a conversation with a “close male friend.”
He also lamented that he was becoming the latest victim of political correctness and criticizing those were offended by the term, reports The Delaware News Journal.
“Here we are now in 2020 where we know the English language and yet have little understanding of context or intent,” he wrote, arguing that he has been using the word “faggot” [usually referring to a weak, wimpy, or spineless person] before it began carrying homosexual connotations. (Conservative pundit Ann Coulter has employed a similar argument regarding the term in the past.)
“Was my intent to disparage any gay individual or community? No,” Rowe wrote. “Did I cause injury to any gay individual or group? Nope! Did anyone reading this thread suffer an injury or loss? No. Is this a reveal of my mind? LOL, not even close. Anyone who knows me knows the answer to this is an emphatic No. It was locker room talk between 2 men.”
Even though he agreed to resign from his post, he also criticized Republicans who called for his resignation, saying that their unwillingness to defend their fellow party members “contributes as to why the GOP has such a time succeeding in Delaware.”
“As we have witnessed for years, the Democrats would have each other’s back if they were guilty of a multitude of crimes, including capital crimes,” Rowe wrote. “I use a word in a locker room context calling out FaceBook and GOP Bladders go into full spasm mode from a Progressive Left Blog article. So, let’s continue to allow the Dems to control the narrative and lob hand grenades over the wall to keep us splintered.”
Rowe said he’d follow up with a video talking about his use of the word this weekend.
Delaware GOP Chairwoman Jane Brady, who had called for Rowe’s resignation, issued a statement on the controversy, stating that the party does not “condone any statements that demean or show disrespect to others,” and that Rowe’s comments did not reflect the party’s values.
“Our Party includes individuals from all different backgrounds, joined together to advance the principles we hold dear,” Brady said in the statement. “I am proud of Delaware Republicans and their support for the broad range of diversity that makes our Party stronger.”
Members of the Delaware House Republican Caucus also called on Rowe to resign, saying in a Facebook post that “derogatory references to sexual orientation and religious affiliation should play no role in the civil discussion of public policy and our party’s political positions.”
Rowe’s comments come at a time when other Delaware politicians — Democrat and Republican — have come under fire for similar comments on social media that have been criticized for being anti-Semitic, offensive, or disparaging to certain groups of people.
Yet Rowe continued to be defiant in a Facebook conversation with Eric Morrison, an openly gay 2020 Democratic candidate for a state representative seat, who challenged Rowe about his use of the term — and then shared screenshots of their conversation.
“I do not use [the word ‘faggot’] in the sense you do. I carry no shame,” Rowe wrote to Morrison. “Sorry your timidity at words has your silk knickers in a twist.”
When confronted by The News Journal about the conversation with Morrison, Rowe said he was referencing Morrison’s moonlighting as a drag queen.
“He’s a drag queen, so that’s why I said that,” Rowe said. “So?”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!