Tag Archives: anti-gay slur

Bakery’s refusal to put anti-gay slur on cake not discriminatory

A Castle Rock, Colorado, religious leader said he plans to appeal after the state Civil Rights Division rejected his arguments that a bakery discriminated against his religion when it refused to make a cake with a gay slur.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled recently that Azucar Bakery did not discriminate against William Jack because the baker offered to bake the cake and let the customer write his own message, which the baker considered derogatory.

Colorado ACLU legal director Mark Silverstein said that that the baker did not discriminate because she agreed to bake the cake. Silverstein said her decision not to decorate the cake was not based on the customer’s religion, but because she considered the message offensive.

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, told The Associated Press after the case was filed that she agreed to make a Bible-shaped cake, but balked when the man showed her a piece of paper with what she considered hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She said she would make the cake, but she declined to write his suggested messages, telling him she would give him icing and a pastry bag so he could write the words himself. Silva said the customer didn’t want that.

The state ruled that the bakery would have treated any other customer the same way.

The bakery owner did not return a phone call from the AP seeking comment on Sunday, and a phone number for Jack could not be located.

Jack said in a statement to KUSA-TV that people are trying to censor the Bible using state laws and he plans to appeal.

“It is offensive that the bakers who refused me service deemed the Bible verses I requested on two cakes discriminatory, and the Colorado Civil rights Division considered that reason enough for them to deny me service,” he said in a statement to KUSA-TV.

MSNBC suspends Alec Baldwin show after anti-gay slur

Alec Baldwin’s new weekly MSNBC talk show was suspended for two episodes after the actor was videotaped using an anti-gay epithet against a photographer during a New York street encounter.

The cable channel didn’t specify the reason it yanked “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” from its schedule last week and this week, but the decision came the day after the run-in.

In a statement on MSNBC website, Baldwin wrote that he “did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have – and for that I am deeply sorry.”

He said his actions came as he tried to protect his family – presumably from the photographer – but were unacceptable and undermine “hard-fought rights that I vigorously support.”

The video, which was posted on TMZ, also drew a tweeted apology from Baldwin in which he claimed he was unaware the term he used was offensive to gays.

MSNBC declined further comment. Baldwin’s representative said in an email that the actor would decline to comment.

The incident came during the week a Canadian actress was convicted in New York of stalking Baldwin with calls, emails and visits over a two-year period. Genevieve Sabourin was sentenced to six months in jail in addition to a month she’s already serving for her courtroom outbursts.

Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, said in a statement afterward that the two “feel safe, relieved and happy to move forward” with the case resolved.

But Baldwin reportedly lost his cool again when a reporter for a New York TV channel asked about the trial and, according to Variety.com, Baldwin called him “dumb.” The exchange took place outside Baldwin’s apartment building, the website said.

Baldwin’s career has included Oscar and Tony nominations and originating action hero Jack Ryan in the 1990 film “The Hunt for Red October” as well as his Emmy-winning turn on “30 Rock.”

He’s also known for his temper. He was kicked off a plane in 2011 after refusing to stop playing a cellphone game, and he’s gotten into confrontations with news photographers. He and a New York Post lensman filed harassment complaints against each other after an altercation in February, and a Daily News photographer said Baldwin punched him in 2012, which Baldwin denied.

Boxing champ Emile Griffith dies at 75

Inside the smaller theater at Madison Square Garden about five years ago, shortly before a world title fight, Emile Griffith was introduced one more time to the crowd. He rose shakily from his seat, waved ever so briefly and then sat down.

The applause kept going.

Revered in retirement perhaps more than during his fighting days, Griffith died Tuesday at 75 after a long battle with pugilistic dementia. The first fighter to be crowned world champion from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Griffith required full-time care late in life and died at an extended care facility in Hempstead, N.Y.

“Emile was a gifted athlete and truly a great boxer,” Hall of Fame director Ed Brophy said. “Outside the ring he was as great a gentleman as he was a fighter.”

An elegant fighter with a quick jab, Griffith’s brilliant career was overshadowed by the fatal beating he gave Benny “The Kid” Paret in a 1962 title bout. The outcome darkened the world of boxing, even prompting some network television stations to stop showing live fights.

It also cast him as a pariah to many inside and outside the sport.

He went on to have a successful career after that fatal fight, but Griffith acknowledged later in life that he was never the same boxer. He would fight merely to win, piling up the kind of decisions that are praised by purists but usually jeered by fans hoping for a knockout.

Griffith often attended fights in his later years, especially at the Garden, where he headlined 28 times. He was also a frequent visitor to the boxing clubs around New York City, and made the pilgrimage most years to the sport’s Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y.

“He always had time for boxing fans when visiting the hall on an annual basis,” Brophy said, “and was one of the most popular boxers to return year after year.”

That outpouring of love that he received late in life stood in stark contrast to the way he was received after March 24, 1962, when he fought Paret before a national TV audience at the Garden. Griffith knocked out his bitter rival in the 12th round to regain his own welterweight title, and Paret went into a coma and died from his injuries 10 days later.

Sports Illustrated reported in 2005 that Griffith may have been fueled by an anti-gay slur directed at him by Paret during the weigh-in. Over the years, in books and interviews, Griffith described himself at various times as straight, gay and bisexual.

“People spit at me in the street,” Griffith told The Associated Press in 1993, recalling the days after Paret’s death. “We stayed in a hotel. Every time there was a knock on the door, I would run into the next room. I was so scared.”

The Paret fight left a cloud over the sport for many years. NBC halted its live boxing broadcasts, and then-New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller created a commission to investigate the bout and the sport. The referee that night, Ruby Goldstein, never worked another fight.

The fight became the basis for the 2005 documentary “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story.” One of the final scenes shows Griffith embracing Paret’s son.

“I was never the same fighter after that. After that fight, I did enough to win. I would use my jab all the time. I never wanted to hurt the other guy,” Griffith said. “I would have quit, but I didn’t know how to do anything else but fight.”

And fight he could.

Known for his overwhelming speed and slick style – certainly not his punching power – Griffith was a prodigy from the moment he stepped in Hall of Fame trainer Gil Clancy’s gym in Queens, N.Y. Griffith had been working in a hat factory when, as the story goes, he took off his shirt on a hot day and the factory owner noticed his muscles.

Under the watchful eye of Clancy, Griffith blossomed into a New York Golden Gloves champion and eventually turned professional. He easily defeated the likes of Florentino Fernandez and Luis Rodriguez during an era when it was common to fight every couple of weeks.

He quickly earned a title shot against Paret in 1961, winning the welterweight belt with a knockout in the 13th round. Griffith would lose it to Paret in a rematch five months later.

After winning back the title during their controversial third fight – many believe Paret never should have been allowed in the ring after a brutal loss to Gene Fullmer three months earlier – Griffith would eventually move up to middleweight. He knocked down Dick Tiger for the first time in his career and claimed the title with a narrow but unanimous decision.

Griffith would go on to lose twice during a thrilling trilogy with Nino Benvenuti, his lone victory coming at Shea Stadium in 1967, and lost two bouts against the great middleweight Carlos Monzon. Griffith would finally retire in 1977 after losing his last three fights.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990 with a record of 85-24-2 and 23 knockouts.

Griffith would go on to train several champions over the years, including Wilfred Benitez and Juan Laporte, among the most popular boxers in Puerto Rican history.

His humor and generosity buoyed those close to him as his health deteriorated in later years. He would regale fans young and old with tales of his fights, even though details often became hazy, the result of the many blows during his career.

Griffith had four sisters – Eleanor, Gloria, Karen and Joyce – and three brothers – Franklin, Guillermo and Tony. He is also survived by his adopted son, Luis Griffith.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

“Emile was courageous in and out of the ring, a true champion and a legendary figure that fought an amazing 28 times at Madison Square Garden,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president of MSG Sports. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

UPDATE: Toronto Blue Jays’ Escobar suspended for anti-gay slur

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar has been suspended for three games for wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish during a Sept. 15 game against the Red Sox.

Pictures posted online show Escobar with the message – translated it means “you are a faggot” – written in his eye-black, a sticker players wear under their eyes to reduce glare from the sun. The slur did not appear to be directed at any person in particular.

“The club takes this situation seriously and is investigating the matter,” the Blue Jays said in a statement Sept. 17, adding they “do not support discrimination of any kind nor condone the message displayed by Yunel Escobar during Saturday’s game.”

This afternoon, Escobar apologized during an appearance with general manager Alex Anthopoulos, manager John Farrell and coach Luis Rivera at Yankee Stadium.

“I’m sorry for (my) actions. It was not something I intended to be offensive,” Escobar said in Spanish during a news conference.

He also said, “I have nothing against homosexuals. I have friends who are gay. I’m sorry for what happened and I can guarantee that this will not happen again in my career… I didn’t mean for this to be misinterpreted by the gay community.”

The salary that Escobar will lose during the suspension will be donated to the You Can Play campaign against homophobia in sports and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, according to a statement from the team.

Also, Escobar will be required to participate in sensitivity training.

Major League Baseball is still reviewing the incident.

Devils player sorry for anti-gay slur

New Jersey Devils enforcer Cam Janssen has apologized for a profanity-laced interview in which he made several comments, including one about gays.

Janssen, who re-signed with the Devils this offseason but rarely played during the postseason, issued his apology through the team on July 13. He participated in a Web-based radio show earlier in the week and said he used poor judgment during the course of the show. Janssen says he regrets his action and said he arranged the interview on “The Thom and Jeff Show,” noting the Devils had no knowledge of it.

“I would like to apologize for my poor choice of language,” Janssen said. “The tone of the interview was very casual and off-color, and I lost focus on what is and is not acceptable and professional. I am deeply sorry to anyone who was offended by my language.”

Janssen said he will try to clean up his language and expressed his support for the work of the “You Can Play” project, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes without regard to sexual orientation.

“I apologize for the embarrassment my comments have caused to the New Jersey Devils management,” Janssen said, “as well as my teammates.”

Janssen played in just 48 regular-season games for New Jersey this season. He had one assist, 75 minutes in penalties and finished at a minus-8 for the Devils, who won the Eastern Conference after defeating the Panthers, Flyers and Rangers. New Jersey lost to Los Angeles in six games in the Stanley Cup finals.

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Soccer player suspended for anti-gay slur

Houston Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark was suspended for three games by Major League Soccer on March 28 and fined for directing a gay slur toward a ball boy during Houston’s 2-0 loss at Seattle against the Sounders last week.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber also directed Clark to attend diversity and sensitivity training.

“Major League Soccer will not tolerate this type of behavior from its players or staff at any time, under any circumstances,” Garber said. “I believe that he will learn from this incident.”

The incident occurred on March 23.

“I am sorry about what happened during the Seattle match,” Clark said in a statement. “I have personally apologized to the ball boy, and I want to take this chance to say I’m sorry to everyone that I’ve offended. I intend to never use those words again in any context. There is no excuse for them. What I said does not properly represent who I am or what I believe. I made a mistake that I truly regret. I accept the punishment that has been handed down by MLS, and I want to learn from this incident and move forward.”

The suspension is believed to be the first of a pro athlete in the United States for an anti-gay slur in a decade.

Houston said, “This incident is not a true representation of Colin’s character or beliefs and that he is remorseful for what happened.”

The Sounders last season produced an “It Gets Better” video, part of a national campaign against homophobia and bullying.

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