A lot of us in the LGBTQ+ community have been subjected to slurs and name-calling, and a lot of us have turned the other cheek, thinking it would do no real good to call out the homophobes and haters.
But times have changed with social media, and the idea that homophobes and bigos and haters can call you names from the comfort of their own mother’s basement, and some of us still choose to do nothing.
Enter Chasten Buttigieg. A homophobic troll left an insulting comment on a photo of Chasten and his family, and Chasten didn’t let him get away with it.
Last week, Chasten posted that photo with his husband and Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, and their twins, Penelope Rose and Joseph August, at the White House, posting:
“2021 brought with it many challenges, but it also gave us a lot to be grateful for. Happy New Year, friends. Here’s to a peaceful and joyful 2022!”Most people who commented loved the photo of the happy family, but some didn’t and one, Andre Kravchenko, left a nasty comment:
“Someone actually gave these [censored] kids??? Holy [censored].”Note: Chasten, who posted a screenshot of the censored comment—though I imagine we all know what words were used—wrote:
“In the year 2022, you’d think these people would be wise enough to post their homophobia from an alt account, not one easily connected to their job. Rather embarrassing for @americanhomes4rent, a company that claims to be an equal housing provider and one that’s ‘building a culture of inclusion and belonging.’ I worry for your tenants.”And that sent Buttigieg supporters posting comments on posts by American Homes 4 Rent calling out their homophobic employee, which prompted the company to issue a statement emphasizing its commitment to diversity and inclusion and clarifying that despite what it said on Kravchenko’s LinkedIn profile, he has not worked for the company for over five years.
Kravchenko was actually employed by Seattle company Skyline Properties, who at first issued a statement that Chasten did not approve of:
“To all who are posting, Skyline could not possibly know what 1,200 of our independent contractors could be doing at any given moment. There is no way on gods green earth that you, me air [sic] anyone else could know in advance what someone might think or post. Now that I am aware of the post I will have a conversation with the broker. Thank our for letting me know.”Oh, do not come for Chasten Buttigieg like that: he posted the comment and said:
“This defensive response tells us exactly how that ‘conversation’ is going to go.”After that the Skyline Instagram account released a more official statement:
“After spending time to properly review the comments made by this individual, we have found that this was not some fluke, mistake, or hacking situation, and have promptly FIRED him from Skyline Properties. That being said, we would like to sincerely apologize to the Buttigieg family and the LGBTQ+ community for any harm that came from the bigotry of this individual. We do not tolerate ANY hate speech of any kind, nor do we have a place for ANY brokers who participate in such hateful behaviors. We must be as clear as possible when we say we have zero tolerance towards this behavior.”And that’s how you stand up to bigots and their hate speech. Anyone can feel however they choose about the LGBTQ+ community, or People of Color, or Jews or Muslims, or … whomever. But when you post that kind of hate-filled speech, there will be consequences.
Speech is free, but the consequences can cost.