The fallout continues from Rick Perry's controversial "Strong" ad -- and from the gay Republican group GOProud's blistering criticism of Perry’s pollster and aide, Tony Fabrizio in response. Conservative activist and publisher Andrew Breitbart has now stepped down from the GOProud advisory council in protest, raising the question as to whether other high-profile council members, such as honorary co-chair Ann Coulter and Fox News commentator and conservative author Margaret Hoover, will follow suit.
Breitbart cited the “outing” of Fabrizio, in what he described as an act of retaliation for Perry’s ad attacking President Obama on “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as his reason for stepping down, though GOProud’s leaders maintain they believed Fabrizio was openly gay and that they’d never reveal someone’s undeclared homosexuality.
On numerous occasions I have spoken with Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron of the significant impact the practice of “outing” had in my evolution from the political left to the right. I was under the absolute impression that both agreed. I have a zero tolerance attitude toward the intentional infliction of vocational and family harm by divulging the details of an individual’s sexual orientation as a weapon of political destruction. As an “Advisory Board member” I was not consulted on this extreme and punitive act.
We would never intentionally out anyone. However, in the case of Tony Fabrizio, top pollster and chief strategist for the Presidential campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry, we did not believe there was any question about his sexual orientation – nor did the reporters who called us to ask about his involvement in Perry’s anti-gay campaign strategy. Questions about an individual’s sexual orientation should obviously be answered by that individual.
GOProud didn’t address having used an ugly slur to describe Fabrizio, with LaSalvia having tweeted “faggots who line their pockets with checks from antigay homophobes.” It’s also questionable as to how “out” the group could have believed Fabrizio to have been since there were no previously published reports of the high-profile pollster acknowledging his sexual orientation.
Watch Perry's original "Strong" ad below: