A local talk show host’s recent statements about an openly gay man running for Memphis City Council were labeled ”cringe-worthy and insidious” by a gay-rights group.
On his show Monday, Thaddeus Matthews targeted Davin Clemons, who is running for the council’s District 6 seat. If he wins, Clemons will be the council’s first openly gay member.
On his show, Matthews said he was only really watching the Memphis mayor’s race this year and the District 6 race. His interest in the race for the council seat was to support Edmund Ford Sr.
Ford is a “family man, a man that has a wife, has children, a man who loves his wife, who is a woman” as Matthews said. His opponent, Clemons, “is a homosexual. He’s out of the closet,” Matthews said. Clemons is the Memphis Police Department’s LGBTQ liaison.
“Homosexuality is not against the law,” Matthews said. “I don’t want you to not vote for somebody because of their sexual preferences. They do all of that in the bedroom, unless you got a record of being a police officer with a record of fraternizing with other men while on the job. We’ll save all of that for a later date.”
LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, condemned the remarks late Tuesday. The organization called them “homophobic comments and false accusations targeting” Clemons.
“Thaddeus Matthews’s bigoted attack on Davin is both cringe-worthy and insidious – an unsubtle and failed attempt at doublespeak that insults the intelligence of his listeners and the people of Memphis,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, president & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “But the most repulsive moment in his diatribe is when he attacks Davin — a police officer who risks his life for his community — with a vague and false accusation for which he offers zero evidence.
“He is attempting to exploit the tired and homophobic stereotype of gay men as sexual predators, but we have learned these attacks are increasingly rejected by voters in Tennessee and across the country.
“Matthews is a charlatan going after ratings through provocation. It will not stop this historic LGBTQ candidate who spends his days going door to door to speak with voters about how to uplift and unite Memphis, not divide.”
See Matthews' statements here:
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