South Bend, Indiana Mayor and Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has clarified comments critical of LGBTQ media, blaming it on a “grumpy moment.”
“I just am what I am and, you know, there’s going to be a lot of that. That’s why I can’t even read the LGBT media anymore, because it’s all, ‘He’s too gay, not gay enough, wrong kind of gay,’” the candidate told SiriusXM host Clay Cane earlier this month.
“All I know is that life became a lot easier when I just started allowing myself to be myself, and I’ll let other people write up whether I’m ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’”
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His comments quickly drew backlash, particularly as media in general and queer media in particular struggles to keep afloat during a changing landscape. Many were also quick to point out that the majority of the type of criticism he outlined was coming not from LGBTQ media but from mainstream media outlets, such as a retracted op-ed from The New Republic.
Alex Berg, co-host of BuzzFeed’s AM2DM, questioned the candidate about that complaint during a video interview, and he took the opportunity to offer an explanation.
“I appreciate the question and the chance to clear this up,” he said. “Just to be clear: LGBTQ media plays an increasingly important role, especially at a time like this. I had a grumpy moment where I was thinking about some of the coverage that I do get frustrated with that seems to tell people how to be gay. And that’s, to be fair, happening in a lot of different sources and places online, and it’s one reason why, as a candidate, it’s healthy just not to read too many clips about yourself to begin with. But I don’t want to take away from the very important work that’s being done in the queer media right now.”
Berg followed up by asking if he thought the criticism his comments received was unfair, and Buttigieg again took responsibility.
“No, look, when you’re a politician, you’re fair game. Even though I don’t think of myself as a politician, I’m running for political office. Everything you say is on the record, everything you say has an impact. It’s important to make sure that you’re saying things in the right way and that they’re having the right effect.”
Mayor @petebuttigieg tells @AM2DM that he was having a “grumpy moment” when he criticized LGBTQ media and said his frustration was about coverage that “seems to tell people how to be gay” pic.twitter.com/Daxd9KFADC
— AM2DM by BuzzFeed News (@AM2DM) September 21, 2019