Reluctantly, Ann Arbor City Councilor Jeff Hayner apologized after using a homophobic bow
Ann Arbor councilor Jeff Hayner has come under fire over a homophobic quote he shared on social media. Hayner quoted Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in what appeared to be an anti-media riot.
“The press is a gang of cruel fagots. It’s a cheap panacea for fuckoffs and underdogs – a fake door to the back of life, a filthy, piss-infested little hole pinned by the construction inspector but just deep enough for a wino to curl up off the sidewalk and masturbate like one Chimpanzee in a zoo cage. “
Hayner initially refused to apologize for his post.
“People who are offended by such language are people who want to be offended by it … who allow themselves to be offended by it or who have ulterior motives” Hayner told the Michigan Daily. “These are not my words.”
The Jim Toy Community Center board of directors issued a damning reprimand of Hayner’s position in the form of a letter to the community.
“We find Councilor Hayner’s choice of quotations very worrying and not representative of our mission or our city values,” the letter read in part. “As an official reporting to constituents, we believe that the councilor must take responsibility for his or her actions. It is not enough to simply defend decisions by claiming to have friends who are members of the LGBTQ community. A group of your constituents are offended and deserve a sincere apology. “
Ultimately, Hayner bowed to the pressure and offered a Mea Culpa.
“I understand that the language in the quote is viewed by many as objectionable, especially when taken out of the context of the book and the original thread,” wrote Hayner in a continuation of the original post. “I also realize that as a semi-public person, I should be more careful and considerate of what I post. To be clear, those weren’t my words. This language doesn’t define who I am, who I was or who I will be. I fully support the LGBTQ community. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe in everyone’s right to choose what life they choose as long as they do not harm others. “
In addition to the condemnation of the community center, Hayner was also criticized within the council. At least five of his fellow councilors used social media to express their dismay and disapproval at Hayner’s post and the choice of book passage – a decision he eventually made.
“This quote, which uses a highly obnoxious homophobic bow, is extremely problematic and inappropriate for a councilor,” Councilor Travis Radina wrote in an email he sent direct to Hayner. “Aside from your tirade against the free press, the thoughtlessness and disregard you have shown our LGBTQ residents for sharing such a quote is extremely worrying and hurtful.”