CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, 26, is doing damage control over homophobic tweets from seven years ago when she was in college.
“Idk if I want to room with a lesbian,” Collins tweeted to a friend in June 2011.
A month later, she tweeted: “Prologue to Canterbury Tales, you fag.”
Both tweets were directed at women who were friends and perhaps classmates of Collins.
At the time, Collins was a 19-year-old student at the University of Alabama where she majored in journalism and political science. After graduating in 2014, she became a freelance writer and blogger before getting hired at The Daily Caller, a far-right opinion and news analysis site, co-founded by Tucker Carlson. (Ann Coulter is a columnist.) Three years later, she moved on to CNN.
Back in July, the White House banned Collins from an event in retaliation for having asked President Trump “inappropriate” questions at a press conference.
Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization representing LGBTQ conservatives and allies, unearthed the CNN reporter’s anti-gay slurs and posted screengrabs via their Twitter account on October 7.
In an immediate response, Collins tweeted: “When I was in college, I used ignorant language in a few tweets to my friends. It was immature but it doesn’t represent the way I feel at all. I regret it and I apologize.”
CNN vice president of communications Matt Dornic, who identifies as gay, came to the reporter’s defense with the following tweet:
“I’m a proud gay man. And I am a proud friend of @kaitlancollins. Tho I’m disappointed that she ever used the word (even as an immature college kid), I can say with certainty it doesn’t reflect her feelings toward the LGBTQ community. She’s apologized and I accept that.”
Joseph A. Wulfsohn of the left-leaning news blog Mediaite characterized the Twitter firestorm as a “nasty smear campaign” in an article posted yesterday.
“Obviously, those who seized on those tweets likely had the intention of getting Collins fired from CNN, perhaps as a result of her testy exchange with President Donald Trump at last week’s press conference on the subject of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Wulfsohn writes. “It’s probably safe to say that Collins’ job is safe and that CNN won’t cave to the pressure in this situation.”
To sum up, Collins posted homophobic tweets in college and after graduation worked for a neoconservative website. Then she became a CNN reporter who covers Trump and the White House, but she’s been treated disrespectfully. A queer GOP group dug up and exposed her past tweets. She apologized. Now liberal media outlets are expressing their support of Collins.
If all of this sounds rather confusing, it is. But one thing’s for sure: The controversy sparks interesting ethical questions about past social media posts and their later use as potential weapons.