A conservative radio host walks into a gay bar…

Michael Berry

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Conservative talk radio host and former city council member Michael Berry has been implicated in a hit and run accident outside of T.C.’s show bar last month. Berry has not been charged with a crime. In Texas leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor.

KPRC reports that a bouncer for the gay bar witnessed a hit and run collision on Jan. 31st. The bouncer, Tuderia Bennett, wrote down the license plate of the vehicle and later identified Berry, the owner of the vehicle, as the man he had seen driving. Since then video of Berry inside the bar has been released.

And then the blogosphere exploded…

Houston Chronicle Newswatch blog: Michael Berry accused of ramming vehicle at gay club

Perez Hilton: Um, Oops? Conservative Radio Host Accused Of Hit-And-Run After Visiting Gay Bar

Texas Observer: Homophobic Radio Host Busted at Gay Bar

Towleroad: Conservative Talk Radio Host Michael Berry Was Definitely At That Gay Bar In Houston …

The site gayhomophobe.com even added Berry to their listing of famous homophobes later caught up in gay sex scandals.

The only issue with all this schadenfreude is that, as far as I can tell, Michael Berry isn’t particularly homophobic. The radio host has criticized other right-wing personalities for their homophobia. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time listening to old episodes of Berry’s show over the last few days (a painful experience) and I’ve yet to find anything hateful towards the LGBT community (please correct me if I’ve missed something).

Controversial black-face drag character Shirley Q. Liquor is a regular guest on Berry’s program which would seem to indicate that Berry at least has no issue with drag  queens (nor, would it seem, does Berry have any issues with astoundingly racially insensitive performances that rely on the most vulgar of African-American stereotypes).

I’m not saying that Michael Berry’s good guy (he once advocating bombing a proposed mosque in lower Manhattan), but I have to question why the media in general, and the LGBT media in particular, have been so quick to paint him as a homophobe caught with his pants down.

Perhaps after decades of Sen. Larry “wide stance” Craig and Rev. George “luggage lifter” Reker it’s an easy narrative to latch on to. But it’s concerning that this story has become about Michael Berry being the sort of person who (allegedly) visits gay bars instead of being about Michael Berry being the sort of jerk who (allegedly) hits a parked car and then drives off.

A conservative radio host walks into a gay bar, walks out, gets into his car, hits another car, and drives off… and what we find shocking isn’t the crime, but that he was in a gay bar.

What a joke.

—  admin

LISTEN: Southwest Airlines pilot’s anti-gay, mysoginistic rant over stuck cockpit microphone

Houston’s KPRC Channel 2 reports on a recent incident involving a pilot for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines whose cockpit microphone became stuck on, allowing air traffic controllers and crews from other flights to hear an anti-gay, misogynistic, ageist rant about what the pilot considers a lack of flight attendants suitable for him to have sex with.

An air traffic controller repeatedly tries to interrupt the pilot and alert him that his microphone is on, but the pilot doesn’t notice. Much of the anti-gay language has been bleeped out in the audio posted on Channel 2′s website, but it’s not hard to fill in the blanks:

“Well, I had Tucson to Indy all four weeks and, uh, Chicago crews … 11 out of 12 … there’s 12 flight attendants, individual, never the same flight attendant twice,” the pilot says. “Eleven (expletive) over the top (expletive), (expletive) homosexuals and a granny. Eleven. I mean, think of the odds of that. I thought I was in Chicago, which was party-land. … After that, it was just a continuous stream of gays and grannies and grandes …”

After an inaudible comment by his co-pilot, presumably about gays, the pilot continues: “Well I don’t give a (expletive). I hate 100 percent of their (expletive). So, six months, I went to the bar three times. In six months, three times. … Once with the granny and the fag, and I wish I hadn’t gone.”

Channel 2 has a complete transcript as well as the audio.

According to Southwest Airlines, the pilot was suspended without pay for the incident, but the company declined to say for how long and added that Southwest considers it “a family matter.”

The FAA also issued a statement saying it “expects a higher level of professionalism from flight crews, regardless of the circumstances.”

Cece Cox, executive director of Resource Center Dallas, is quoted extensively in the story, and RCD reportedly will be issuing a follow-up  statement about the incident Wednesday morning.

“This individual has made statements that are anti-woman, anti-age, and anti-gay in a way that can’t be disputed and they’re hateful and they’re damaging to the employees of Southwest Airlines as well as consumers of Southwest Airlines,” Cox told Channel 2. “I hope it’s an isolated incident. I hope they look and see what’s happening in their culture because clearly this incident shows that there’s something happening in this culture that allowed this person to make those kind of remarks and exhibit this kind of hostility, discrimination and hate.”

In case you’re wondering Southwest Airlines received a score of 95 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2011 Corporate Equality Index. According to HRC, the company conducts mandatory LGBT diversity training for all employees.

—  John Wright