After the Texas state legislature cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood Texas because it offers abortion services, the family planning organization began looking for alternate funding. But that doesn't mean it will take money from just anyone.
Planned Parenthood Dallas allegedly refused a $500,000 donation from "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell" author Tucker Max, who wanted to decrease his tax burden and decided to make a donation large enough for Planned Parenthood to name a clinic after him.
Max, who has written about women in a controversial and degrading manner, has in the past made extremely offensive comments about Planned Parenthood and the women who seek health care there on his Twitter account. He tweeted in July 2011 that "Planned Parenthood would be cooler if it was a giant flight of stairs, w/someone pushing girls down, like a water park slide."
In another March 14 tweet, which he deleted on Tuesday following an uptick in media attention, he wrote: "In South Florida. This place is awful. Shitty design, slutty whores & no culture, like a giant Planned Parenthood waiting room."
Max's publicist, Ryan Holiday, claims in a Forbes blog post that when he approached Planned Parenthood Dallas, he learned that it would take a donation of $250,000 to $500,000 to get naming rights and that Planned Parenthood was initially excited by the prospect of a donation of that size from Max. But at some point, the idea of a Tucker Max Planned Parenthood Center began to sound less appealing. Holiday claims that while he was in the middle of making the three-and-a-half hour drive to Dallas from his home in Austin to deliver the check to CEO Ken Lambrecht, Planned Parenthood called citing concerns about accepting the donation.
A Planned Parenthood spokesperson said the organization's gift policy speaks for itself. "We appreciate the generosity of our supporters, and take seriously our role as financial stewards of contributions, grants, and government funding," national spokesperson Tait Sye told The Huffington Post in a statement. "Like many nonprofits, Planned Parenthood reserves the right to decline offers of gifts and grants that may be discriminatory, are for purposes outside of our mission, or are too difficult to administer."
Holiday claims that Planned Parenthood was concerned about being associated with someone with Max's reputation, and said the organization later admitted it had reservations about the way he writes about women. Max, for his part, says he's always been pro-choice and decided to donate to the organization because, "They really did help me and my girlfriend when I was poor, I really do believe in their mission." But that doesn't change the fact that he has often been accused of being a misogynist who contributes to "rape culture."
The Los Angeles Times describes Max's 2006 memoir, "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell," which was turned into a movie in 2009, as "fratire," in which Max "rates women on a scale from 'common-stock pig' to 'super hottie' and declares himself a 'professional at humiliating and "debasing" people.'" Yet it's a book that has sold more than a million copies and remained on the New York Times best seller list for more than 100 weeks.
Max has defended himself against these accusations. In a 2006 blog for The Huffington Post, he complained that his critics "spend 30 seconds scanning his book for the word 'bitch,' see some sentence about 'drunken sex' ... and decide that's all they need to read, they have completely figured us out, and we are quite obviously [misogynists/alcoholics/immature/pseudo-frat boys/vengeful/insert your favorite adjective here]." He said that "fratire" is not about misogyny, drinking, acting immature or animosity towards women. Rather, "fratire is, at its essence, nothing more than men writing about being men in an honest and authentic way."
Despite Max's reputation, Holiday says he can't believe Planned Parenthood refused the donation. "As a marketer, it was one of the stupidest and most depressing things I've ever seen," he writes. "This would have been a win-win-win-win situation. Cut a check, keep a clinic open. Rehabilitate some of Tucker’s PR ... So I tell this story not simply to call out Planned Parenthood -- though they deserve it and more. Tucker wasn't trying to make a fool of them with the donation I set up, but they acted like one anyway."