Conservative Icon Coulter, GOProud’s LaSalvia Film ’A-List’ Episode
Conservative icon Ann Coulter has filmed an episode of Logo’s reality program "A-List Dallas." Coulter, who, conservative gay group GOProud has dubbed Honorary Board Chair, appears in the segment with the group’s Executive Director, Jimmy LaSalvia.
Also appearing in the episode is cast member Taylor Garrett, whom LaSalvia described in an Oct. 4 media release as "a young up and coming conservative fundraiser."
"Ann and Taylor really hit it off, and we talked about a ton of issues ranging from the presidential race to illegal immigration and abortion," LaSalvia dished in the release. "We even made time for a little girl talk about boys and dating!"
Logo, a gay cable network, issued its own release on the episode.
"Coulter joined some of her fave boys, specifically Dallas cast member Taylor Garret and Jimmy LaSalvia of GOProud, for a late lunch, and some reality show filming, in LA yesterday," the Oct. 4 Logo release said.
"It is unsure when Coulter’s episode as a LOGO guest star will end up airing, but there is no doubt there will be some rumblings and controversy as a result."
Coulter’s association with the gay conservative group has been controversial since the right-wing commentator spoke at the group’s inaugural HomoCon convention last year.
Anti-gay religious site WorldNetDaily (WND) had offered Coulter a spot as keynote speaker at its own event in September, 2010, a cruise and conference titled "Taking Back America." But when Coulter accepted GOProud’s offer to be keynote speaker at HomoCon a month earlier, WND rescinded the offer and disinvited Coulter.
The right-wing commentator, who has complained in the past of being the victim of a "hate crime" for being asked to moderate her opinions at appearances, took no more kindly to being muzzled by the right than she had to appeals from the left to tone down her rhetoric.
WND CEO Joseph Farah said that dropping Coulter was the only thing to do given that she was, he suggested, lending credibility to the gay conservative group.
"Ultimately, as a matter of principle, it would not make sense for us to have Ann speak to a conference about ’taking America back’ when she clearly does not recognize that the ideals to be espoused there simply do not include the radical and very ’unconservative’ agenda represented by GOProud," Farah told his own news site.
"GOProud is about infiltration of the conservative movement and dividing it from within with twisted and dangerous ideas way out of the mainstream of American public opinion," Farah continued. "Ann Coulter is, I’m afraid, validating this effort for money."
Farah directed pointed questions to Coulter about her appearance at GOProud’s 2010 Homocon event. "Do you not understand you are legitimizing a group that is fighting for same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the military--not to mention the idea that sodomy is just an alternate lifestyle?" Farah asked.
"That’s silly," Coulter rejoined, going on to tell Farah, "I speak to a lot of groups and do not endorse them. I speak at Harvard and I certainly don’t endorse their views. I’ve spoken to Democratic groups and liberal Republican groups that loooove abortion.
"The main thing I do is speak on college campuses, which is about the equivalent of speaking at an al-Qaida conference," Coulter continued. "I’m sure I agree with GOProud more than I do with at least half of my college audiences. But in any event, giving a speech is not an endorsement of every position held by the people I’m speaking to. I was going to speak for you guys, [even though] I think you’re nuts on the birther thing (though I like you otherwise!)."
The "birther thing" Coulter referred to is a persistent belief among the right-wing fringe that President Obama was not, in fact, born in the United States. So-called "birthers" claim that Obama was born in Kenya and is therefore not eligible to serve as president. The movement continues to cling to this view despite having no evidence for the claim and even though Obama has made his Hawaiian birth certificate available for inspection.
True to her word, Coulter made little effort to play to her audience when addressing HomoCon attendees. Instead, she slammed the idea of legal equality for gays and lesbians to the attendees’ faces. Gay bloggers promptly expressed shock.
In her Sept. 25 speech, delivered to about 150 GOProud supporters in the apartment of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, Coulter decried marriage equality and made remarks that some saw as carrying racist overtones. The response from the GLBT blogosphere--despite Coulter having made similar remarks in the past, including telling one Muslim student in Canada to ride a camel rather than to fly in a commercial airplane--was to accuse Coulter of having turned on her gay conservative hosts and her audience.
"Homocon is exactly what Ann Coulter did yesterday. She conned a group of homosexuals to give her money while she demeaned them and went on in a very racist fashion," a Sept. 26, 2010, LezGetReal said. "She then went on to parrot the usual run of why lesbians and gays should not be allowed to get married including stating that ’Marriage is not a civil right. You’re not black,’" the article added.
The posting then said that Coulter sidestepped questions about her personal views of whether or not homosexuality is a "choice," adding that the right-wing author and commentator also called for an end to no-fault divorce for heterosexual married couples.
In the course of her speech, Coulter reportedly referenced an array of fringe-right fixations, including an accusation that the political left intended to force inappropriate material on young children in sex-ed classes.
Also controversial was GOProud’s unwavering support of Coulter despite what many took to be her straightforwardly anti-gay sentiments.
"I don’t agree with Ann Coulter about gay marriage, but there was a real conversation here," LaSalvia said at the time. "That’s what we’re trying to start. We want people to see that it isn’t ’us versus them.’"
The socially conservative group focuses on federal and fiscal issues rather than on questions of social equality. The LezGetReal article said that GOProud had expected that Coulter would stick to fiscal issues.
Coulter also expressed the notion that gays would be well served to back abortion foes, saying, "[A]s soon as they find the gay gene, you know who’s getting aborted."
But Coulter refused to engage those in the audience who challenged her on the seeming contradiction of social conservatives calling for smaller, less intrusive government while at the same time demanding the legal exclusion of gay and lesbian families who wish to partake in matrimony.
An argument for the lack of paradox in Coulter’s remarks--even though she was addressing a gay crowd at a gay event--was set out in a Sept. 25, 2010, Politico article. "GOProud is an explicitly gay group that isn’t particularly focused on gay rights, and Coulter’s speech--full of conservative red meat, and only the occasional Judy Garland joke--reflected its focus," the Politico article read, going on to note, "The gay right is thriving at a moment that the mainstream gay rights movement faces a profound crisis."
"Opinions of Coulter aside, the boys of Dallas are certainly stepping it up with this surprising, and relevant, guest star," the Logo release said. "And, while there are of course thousands of reasons to disagree with Coulter and her uber conservative politics, it is incredibly refreshing to see someone in her position, and of such noted stature for her far right opinions, willing to reaffirm her GLB (T might be going out on a limb) support."
"We at GOProud are thrilled at this opportunity," LaSalvia said in the release. "We look forward to gay people everywhere getting a chance to hear about our organizations and hear from Ann Coulter--simply the smartest, funniest and most stylish woman in politics today.
"We thank Ann for agreeing to do this and for continuing her outspoken support for gay conservatives," LaSalvia added.
For her part, Coulter has said that she’s not surprised at having a gay following. Coulter has described herself as the "right-wing Judy Garland."
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.