Why Stephen Colbert Is Not A Homophobe

USA

On Monday, May 2nd, Stephen Colbert let loose a remarkable tirade of insults on President Trump. The host of The Late Show used his nightly monologue to respond to the president over his glib treatment of fellow CBS host John Dickerson. Colbert’s rant culminated in the following, Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla that got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

Though his studio audience laughed heartily at the remarks, the backlash on social media was almost immediate, with the hashtag #FireColbert trending over the next few days. The focus of the criticism was on Colbert’s use of the term ‘cock holster,' deriding the joke as homophobic.

The backlash culminated in the establishment of a Twitter account @FireColbert and corollary website, FireColbert.com. Though the website makes no mention of Colbert’s purportedly homophobic remarks, it does say that His obscene comments about President Trump are inexcusable.” It goes on to urge visitors to the site to write to CBS and lodge formal complaints with the FCC under their obscenity policy. The site then bizarrely links to Trump’s White House page, as well as #FireColbert merchandise and Amazon links to his books which are “full of HATRED towards America.”

Trying to parse who might be responsible for the initiative is purely speculative at this point, although the hamfisted execution and incongruous sale of merchandise reek of Trump cronyism.

While I admit that Colbert’s remarks were undoubtedly obscene, they fail to meet the FCC’s criteria for a complete obscenity complaint. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in an interview with Newsmax TV, “It’s a free country. People are willing and able to say just about anything these days.”

So, it is unlikely that Colbert will receive any kind of formal reprimand over his remarks. Which brings me to the continuing allegations of homophobia – a kind of appeal to principle that could see Colbert’s viewership decline or advertisers pull out. In the wake of the O’Reilly scandal, this seems to be the preferred methodology when attacking a pundit, the key difference here being that O’Reilly had committed real transgressions.

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