Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.com, during his program spoke out against terrorism and the men who stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo that left editor Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier and 11 others dead. Erickson then compared those who attacked the satirical magazine to advocates who urged Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to fire Kelvin Cochran in response to a series of anti-gay comments he made in his book.
“If you are silent, the terrorists win,” said Erickson. “If you then drive others from the town square, you’re doing what they want. You’re shutting other people up. They believe that the views they want to silence are not worthy of ever being spoken. They’re not ideas that anyone can consider and so they must be punished, they must be vanquished and everybody must know it’s going to happen to them as well. And so they did the only thing they could do, the only thing they knew to do. They went to the mayor of Atlanta and demanded he fire the chief of the fire department for daring to mock them.”
“One group destroys the livelihoods of those who dare to mock or dissent and the other took their lives, but both are doing it to drive debate from the public square, to drive anyone who dares challenge them from the public square, to shut them up and shut them down, segment them away from society,” he added. “Look what’s happened to the fire chief in Atlanta, he has been fired for being a Christian.”
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis blasted Erickson’s comments.
“This is beyond the pale,” she told the Washington Blade. “To exploit tragedy for the sake of politics and ratings isn’t just desperate, it’s deplorable.”
Erickson did not immediately respond to the Blade’s request for comment. He nevertheless said on his program that he expected his comments would prove controversial to some.
“I want to go on and say I’m lighting the ships on fire on the seashore and burning the bridges down behind me,” said Erickson. “I apologize for any ears that burn, heads that explode, heartburn that you may get for what I’m about to say about the terrorism, but I feel very strongly that it does need to be said.”
Erickson made his comments hours after the siege at Charlie Hebdo’s offices. Reed on Monday announced he had fired Cochran.
Charlie Hebdo in 2006 republished controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed that first appeared in a Danish magazine.
The left-leaning French weekly in 2011 published a cartoon featuring Charbonnier kissing a man dressed in traditional Muslim clothing under the headline “Love is stronger than hate” in response to the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s offices after it ran a caricature of the Prophet Muhammed. The magazine in the same year published a cartoon that highlighted Sharia law and homosexuality.
A caricature that Charlie Hebdo published in 1999 mocked anti-gay religious leaders who opposed a bill that sought to extend civil unions to same-sex couples in France.
Bill Donahue, president of the anti-LGBT Catholic League, sparked widespread outrage with his suggestion that Charbonnier “didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death.”
“Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures,” said Donahue in a statement.
Paul Parant, who edits the website of Têtu, a French LGBT magazine, on Wednesday described the siege to the Blade as a “personal offense.”
Têtu on its homepage has posted the #IAmCharlie hashtag against a black backdrop under the headline “Tétu is Charlie.” A post that accompanies the memorial contains a picture of the 2011 cartoon that Charlie Hebdo published in response to the firebombing of its offices.
Tête also endorsed demonstrations in response to the siege that are scheduled to take place in Paris and other French cities on Sunday.
“Freedom of expression will never die,” it wrote.
La Manif Pour Tous, a group that mobilized opposition to France’s same-sex marriage law that took effect in 2013, on Wednesday used the #freedomofpress hashtag in a tweet that expressed “solidarity with the victims and sincere condolences” to the families and colleagues of those killed during the shooting.
The group on Friday appeared to back President François Hollande’s statement that “all citizens can come” to Sunday’s demonstrations.