Republican N.Y. gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino on Tuesday issued an e-mail statement apologizing for a recent slew of anti-gay comments that have ignited a political firestorm around the candidate’s already-controversial campaign.
In the statement, Paladino called the remarks—which included claims that children are being “brainwashed” into thinking being gay is acceptable—“poorly chosen words.” The apology came after the anti-gay statements sparked widespread outrage and resulted in the Republican Party’s distancing itself from Paladino’s hurtful claims.
Paladino failed to directly retract his comments in the apology; instead, he focused on the specific language used in his speech to an Orthodox Jewish congregation on Sunday and his condemnation of gay pride parades to Today show host Matt Lauer on Monday.
Many LGBT equality advocates, however, see the apology as a largely insincere, politically-motivated tactic intended to mask Paladino’s extreme views on gay and lesbian people and their rights (or lack thereof).
“If he truly wanted to apologize he would pick up the phone and call any number of people from the LGBT community who could tell him why his remarks over the past several days, including but not limited to those made over the weekend, are so outrageous and dangerous,” said openly lesbian New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “This is not a question of choosing poor words or a misinterpretation of his remarks. His beliefs are wrong and filled with hate.”
Paladino’s openly gay nephew, Jeff Hannon, told the New York Post, “Obviously, I’m very offended by his comments.”
The Post reported that Hannon, who works for his uncle’s campaign, has not been spotted at the Paladino camp’s headquarters in Buffalo since Paladino made the anti-gay remarks.