But it did take the host a while to get comfortable in her role. Perhaps, three years into it.
*(Via CBS News) – Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday condemned a new Nigerian law that prohibits same-sex marriages and vastly restricts the rights of gay and lesbian citizens to even gather together.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan quietly signed the strict measure into law earlier this month, but the news first emerged Monday afternoon. The revelation drew a swift response from Kerry.
*Lauryn Hill has been accused of incorporating anti-gay lyrics into one of her new songs.
In “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix),” the 38-year-old activist sings about the perils of society.
In addition to making references about psychological massacre and superficial vanity, Hill’s songs seem to include anti-gay statements, slamming ”drag queens,” “girl men” and ”social transvestism,” BET’s Monica Miller notes.
Though she’s a musician who consistently advocates on behalf of the oppressed, Hill “might not extend her concerns to gay and lesbian communities,” Miller writes.
Via BET: Whether or not Hill is merely using these comments as examples of the smokescreens and sleight-of-hands that pervade this “Neurotic Society” is unclear. Beyond intention, these sorts of statements suggest that society is in a shambles because it’s been taking too many cues from the LGBTQ community, acting like “girl men,” “drag queens” and “transvestites.” Is her beef with oppressive society or is her issue with people who don’t abide by a traditional family structure? Hill raps about “drag queens” after naming “greedy men and pride fiends.” She also mentions “social transvestism” and “subliminal dressed up as piety.”
“I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… but the message is still there,” she wrote about dropping her new single with Sony. “In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!”
*Amid the fallout of anti-gay remarks made by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, two more players on the team have just stepped into the backlash by denying ever participating in an “It Gets Better” PSA that supports the LGBT community, when clearly they did. [Scroll down to watch.]
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga participated in the team’s widely-praised video “It Gets Better” last summer, but the players told USA Today Sports that they didn’t realize the video’s aim was to specifically combat bullying experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens.
“This is America and if someone wants to be gay, they can be gay,” Brooks told the publication. “But I didn’t make any video.” Later, after he was reportedly shown the video on an iPhone, the player clarified, “Oh, that. It was an anti-bullying video, not a gay [rights] video.”
Meanwhile, Sopoaga similarly denied taking part in the clip, even as a teammate reportedly tried to jog his memory. “I never went,” he declared. “And now someone is using my name.”
LGBT rights advocate and “It Gets Better” project founder Dan Savage has responded to Brooks’ and Sopoaga’s claims via Twitter, announcing that the 49ers’ video has been removed from his site. [The tweet read: We've removed the #49ers #ItGetsBetter video from our website. http://t.co/ZI2Vr6Nt #homophobia #NFL #horsesh*t]
Meanwhile, the firestorm over Culliver’s statements (he told Artie Lange that he “don’t do the gay guys, man” and that an openly gay player would not be welcome on his football team) continues to rage, even though he has apologized, and team officials released a statement saying they “proudly support the LGBT community.”
Interestingly, Culliver’s comments initially came on the heels of news that former 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris was in court on assault charges from an ex-boyfriend. Though Harris last played for the 49ers in 2007, many former teammates quickly came to his defense in the media.
A petition has since been launched on change.org asking the NFL to send Culliver to spend a day with the New York Gay Football League.
“This will give him an opportunity to see that openly gay players perform just as well as heterosexual players,” the petition’s organizer, Christian Fuscarino, writes. “It will also allow him to ask questions and speak with members of the team.”
Watch the San Francisco 49ers’ “It Gets Better” video below.
*San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver apologized Wednesday night for anti-gay remarks he made during a Super Bowl media day interview.
The apology came one day after Culliver told a radio host that he would not welcome a gay teammate, particularly in the locker room.
“The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel,” Culliver said in a statement released by the team. “It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience.”
The 49ers said in a statement earlier Wednesday they had addressed Culliver’s comments, but didn’t elaborate on whether the second-year player would face disciplinary action or a fine.
Culliver made his derogatory remarks during an interview Tuesday with comedian and radio personality Artie Lange, who said he was doing a “goofy interview and asking him all sorts of stupid questions” when he asked the cornerback “whether there is any gay guy on the 49ers.”
Culliver, 24, planned to address his remarks formally at a news conference during the 49ers’ media availability Thursday morning, according to his personal public relations representative, Theodore Palmer.
“Chris is very apologetic for any harm caused to anyone,” Palmer told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “His intent was not that at all. He is one who celebrates the differences of others. All of this was just a big mistake. It was interpreted wrong.”
The 49ers issued a statement before Culliver’s apology, condemning his comments one day after Lange played the audio recording of his interview with the cornerback during his radio show.
“The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris,” the team’s statement said. “There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.”
Culliver is San Francisco’s primary nickel cornerback and had a key interception against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. The second-year veteran made it clear to Lange that he would not accept a gay teammate.
“I don’t do the gay guys. I don’t do that,” Culliver told Lange, who had asked the cornerback if he ever had been approached by a homosexual player.
Culliver’s remarks came one day after a pretrial hearing for former 49ers offensive lineman Kwame Harris, who was charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges from an August beating involving a former boyfriend.
Culliver indicated that a gay player would not be welcome on the 49ers when Lange asked if there were any gay players on the team.
“We ain’t got no gay people on the team,” Culliver told Lange. “They gotta get up out here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. … Nah, can’t be … in the locker room, man.”
When asked by Lange if a gay player should keep his sexual orientation a secret, Culliver stated that gay players should reveal their sexuality after retiring.
“Gotta come out 10 years after that,” Culliver said.
*Brad Pitt’s mother, Jane Pitt, made news last week after a Missouri newspaper printed an anti-gay letter she wrote urging Christians to vote for Mitt Romney.
Considering the actor’s support for President Obama, her opinions came as a shock to many Pitt fans. But Pitt’s younger brother, Doug Pitt, said this morning in an interview on the Today show, “They are different.”
As previously reported, last Thursday, The Springfield News-Leader confirmed in an editor’s note that “the letter writer is the mother of actor Brad Pitt and local businessman Doug Pitt.”
It was a response to another opinion piece in the newspaper espousing Christians’ rights to refuse to vote for Romney because he is a Mormon. In her letter, Jane Pitt identifies as “a Christian (who differs) with the Mormon religion” and writes “any Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon.”
She also notes that “any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama — a man who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.”
Doug Pitt appeared on “Today” to talk about spoofing his famous brother in an overseas Virgin Mobile commercial, but ended up defending his mom’s right to speak her mind.
“You know, I think moms and dads and kids agree to disagree all over the world. So why would our family be any different?” he said. “There can be healthy discussion when people disagree with you. The bad thing is when it turns to venom and negativity, and we don’t have that in our family. It’s open discussion. We can learn from each other and, if anything, it solidifies your point. Or maybe you learn something.” [Scroll down to watch.]
Brad Pitt and partner Angelina Jolie have long championed gay rights, with the former recently revealing his endorsement of Obama in the upcoming presidential election.