By: E&P Staff
The Human Rights Campaign — which claims to be the largest civil rights organization working for gay equality — says more than 20,000 people have written Universal Press Syndicate since the HRC Tuesday night launched a letter-writing campaign criticizing Ann Coulter’s use of the word “faggot” in a Friday speech.
Now, the HRC is urging people to contact individual newspapers that run Coulter’s column. The new campaign was announced late Wednesday afternoon.
Universal distributes Coulter’s column to about 100 papers. E&P reported Wednesday that two more dailies have dropped Coulter, bringing to at least three the total for the week. But Universal says it has no plans to end its relationship with the columnist.
How does 20,000 compare to other HRC letter-writing campaigns? “That’s a good showing,” replied David Smith, HRC’s vice president of programs, when reached Wednesday by E&P.
Universal President and Editor Lee Salem answered some of the non-form letters to the syndicate with this comment: “Whether the words she chose in referring to John Edwards were misplaced humor or outright bigotry, we would not have distributed them in her column.”
Salem’s reply letter, which Universal provided E&P after the syndicate was asked for a response to the initial HRC campaign, also said: “The contracts with the many writers and cartoonists we represent call for specific products and we have no legal interest in what they may do or say outside of that relationship.
“In the case of Ann Coulter (and others across the political spectrum whom readers have urged us to drop), she is not an employee and we have no legal power to ‘fire’ her, though, of course, any of her subscribing newspapers can drop her column at any time.”
Coulter got in hot water again in recent days by using the term “faggot” to slur former Sen. John Edwards. She has drawn wide condemnation from across the political spectrum.
The 1980-founded HRC — which says it has 600,000 members — announced its new campaign targeting individual papers in a Wednesday letter from HRC President Joe Solmonese. He wrote: “Yesterday, we asked you to send a message to Lee Salem. … You leaped into action and sent over 20,000 e-mails to Lee demanding Universal … drop Coulter?s column. By responding so quickly, you sent a strong message that our community will not stand by silently while UPS continues to serve as a platform for hateful and destructive language in the media.
“As you may know by now, UPS has flatly defied the protests of thousands of fair-minded Americans nationwide by refusing to stop distributing Coulter?s column. …
“UPS said, ‘of course, any of her subscribing newspapers can drop her column at any time.’ And that’s exactly why we need your help again.
“Keep the heat on Coulter by encouraging individual newspapers to not provide platforms to bigots.
“Send a message today to the editors of newspapers that have not stepped up to the plate by dropping Coulter?s column and demand that these publications stop allowing their pages to be used to spread Coulter?s hate.”
Though Coulter reportedly has about 100 clients, HRC was only able to find the names of seven through online searches. HRC’s Smith said many of the clients may be too small to show up in searches.
According to Smith, the targeted papers that HRC was able to find include the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Elko (Nev.) Daily Free Press, The Calgary Sun, The Winnipeg Sun, and three sister California papers (the Pasadena Star-News, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and the Whittier Daily News).
Coulter’s exact words Friday were: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”
She followed her “faggot” reference with a statement on her Web site saying Edwards campaign manager David Bonior — a former Congressman — “is fronting for Arab terrorists.”
In its previous Tuesday mailing, the HRC had written: “Contact Universal Press Syndicate, the largest independent newspaper syndicate in the world, and let them know that carrying Ann Coulter as a syndicated columnist is not acceptable. …
“Coulter?s use of the demeaning and harmful word ‘faggot’ is so beyond the pale that anyone who uses it should not be given a platform as a respected voice in the political discourse of our country. … The news media has a responsibility to not simply become an avenue that allows Ann Coulter the opportunity to broadcast her vile slurs. …
“This is not a question of censorship. There are plenty of other people on the right, including other UPS columnists, who share Coulter’s values and views but understand the value of civility and respect.”
Related E&P story:
— Two More Newspapers Drop Ann Coulter’s Column