HRC Defends Campaign to Get Papers to Drop Coulter — and Rall Responds

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By: E&P Staff

The Human Rights Campaign defended its effort to get Ann Coulter’s column dropped from newspapers after receiving a letter from Ted Rall criticizing the HRC campaign.

Rall, whose First Amendment-themed letter was posted Monday on E&P’s Web site, is a liberal editorial cartoonist/columnist. He shares the same syndicate (Universal Press) with the conservative Coulter, who used the word “faggot” when talking about Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards in her March 2 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

The HRC, a gay-rights organization, wrote Rall: “We believe that this is not a question of censorship. There are plenty of other people on the right who share Coulter?s values and views but understand the value of civility and respect.

“Ann Coulter is free to spew her vile and hateful speech but as a community we are also free to exercise our collective power. And when Coulter defends herself on Fox News by saying ‘faggot isn?t offensive to gays,’ it is our responsibility to make sure she, and those who carry her columns, understand that we know otherwise. ‘Faggot’ is a loaded word — a word that too often is used as a weapon to demean and wound our community.

“If she had made a racist or anti-Semitic remark, there would not have even been a question of whether a newspaper should continue carrying her columns. We must speak out in order to move the ‘F word’ into that same column of universally understood hate speech.”

Rall responded that Coulter “has in fact made numerous racist comments in her column, including her use of the derogatory slur ‘raghead’ to refer to Muslims,” but didn’t lose many newspapers as a result.

“I agree with you that ‘faggot’ is not a word that elevates civilized debate,” Rall told the HRC. “Its use epitomizes not only homophobia in the most literal sense, but the anti-intellectual strain that keeps America from being as good a nation as it could be. But it’s only a word — and no word should prompt us to go down the road that leads to any form of censorship or would-be censorship. …

“Anyway, Ann Coulter is not the enemy. The ‘mainstream’ Republicans who embrace her as their attack dog, such as presidential candidate Mitt Romney who introduced her at CPAC, are those who are truly keeping us back.”

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