The May edition of Esquire magazine, currently on newsstands, uses the anti-gay slur "fa**ot" in a section about how to "Curse Well" as part of its overall "How to be a Man" issue. Last Friday GLAAD contacted Editor-in-Chief David Granger with major concerns about the magazine using this defamatory term. We also sent a link with guidelines on defamatory terminology and information from GLSEN's website about the tragic story of 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, of Massachusetts, who hung himself last Monday after enduring intense bullying at school including name calling and use of the anti-gay f-word. Esquire had used the slur to describe how to talk to "your neighbor's nosy nine-year old boy."
[caption id="attachment_7837" align="alignright" width="222" caption="Cover from May 2009 issue of Esquire."]
We strongly encouraged Esquire to apologize in its next edition and were pleased to hear back from Granger today:
Dear Ms. Creager:
I appreciate your concerns and I have spent a long weekend thinking about how to address them. Right now, we are putting an apology on the home page of our website and we have recalled a page from the June issue, which had closed, so that we can add a box including that apology to the first editorial page of the issue.
I and my staff have been responding to each of the e-mailed notes of concern and protest and in those responses we have expressed our regret. This was an uncharacteristic lapse of taste and sensitivity and I am very sorry it occurred. The last thing I want to do is cause any reader or any citizen undue pain. In general, we attempt a generosity of spirit that tries to include people rather than alienate them.
Again, thank you for your notes and for the links that expand on the reasons for your concern. I have read them and will share them with my staff.
Editor in Chief
You can find the online apology here. And look for it in June print edition, due on newsstands in early May. It reads:
A Note to Our Readers
An apology regarding the "Curse Well" article in Esquire's May issue
In the "How to Curse" section of our May 2009 feature, "How to Skin a Moose," we presented a parody of extreme profanity and its users, contrasting exaggerated examples of offensive language with ordinary situations. The target of the parody was profanity itself and not the various people who might be its object, including gay people. But we used a particularly offensive phrase we shouldn't have. It certainly was not our intent to cause pain. Judging from the reaction, we did. For that we are sincerely sorry.
GLAAD thanked Granger for addressing this issue swiftly and appropriately and invited Esquire to call on GLAAD for future resources. The anti-gay f-word is often the last word young people hear before they are thrown down on a playground or before they endure other forms of violence. GLAAD will continue holding media outlets accountable when they use this dehumanizing term.