Homophobia Accusations

“To provide context, I am tired of being slandered by some people on Twitter as anti-LGBT.”

Charlotte mayoral candidate Joel Ford landed in hot water this week when he tweeted a GIF of a dog defecating in response to criticism over his stance on LGBT equality.

The Democratic senator was called out on Twitter by Matt Comer, a board member of Charlotte Pride and former editor of the city’s LGBT paper, QNotes.

When Comer blasted Ford for his poor track record on LGBT rights, including voting to allow magistrates to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples and supporting compromise measures for HB2, he responded with the offensive GIF.

Ford is seeking to be Charlotte’s next mayor, running against incumbent Jennifer Roberts and City Council Member Vi Lyles, who took to Twitter to condemn the tweet.

Mayor Roberts and Lyles both voted to expand Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance to include LGBT protections, a move that began the battle with the state that would lead to the passing of HB2.

Lyles has since met with members of the North Carolina General Assembly to discuss a compromise.

Ford said he is in favor of most of the LGBT protections outlined in the expanded non-discrimination ordinance, but was opposed to the provision allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity.

This isn’t the first time he’s defended this belief with a GIF—earlier this year, he tweeted out one of Anderson Cooper rolling his eyes when asked why he wouldn’t stand up for the LGBT community.

“To provide context, I am tired of being slandered by some people on Twitter as anti-LGBT and homophobic. I have worked to find solutions that are realistic and impactful but some people do not see it that way,” Ford said in a statement.

He went on to say that he supports LGBT rights, but that he won’t be “bullied or intimidated” by activists and will continue to work on a compromise for HB2 rather than its outright repeal.

“For some [LGBT] leaders it’s clean repeal or nothing, that’s not reality,” he said. “I agree that LGBT protections are important. But so are jobs, so are safe neighborhood and high-performing neighborhood schools.”

“There are significant concerns among LGBT leaders about where Joel Ford stands on LGBT equality,” Comer responded. “He has been a supporter of compromises that will end up doing more harm to the LGBT community than good.”

Ford later apologized to Comer for the since deleted tweet and plans to meet with him in the future.

“I want to apologize to Matt Comer for my Tweet late last night. It was inappropriate and for that I am sorry,” Ford said in a statement, through campaign manager Dakota Cary.

Cary added that Ford would have some of his GIF privileges revoked due to his bad judgment.

“He used that one because he thinks that when people like that come for him on Twitter… it’s easier than sitting down and typing out the same response each time,” Cary said of the dog GIF.

“None of the GIFs that we’ve been using have been well received, and so I think there’s a disconnect between trying to use GIFs as a way to communicate with people and what they actually mean,” Cary said. “You end up with a problem like this where what he wants to convey and what comes across [are] two different things.”


Readers' Choice