November 16, 2020 at 9:33 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Lewes firefighter uses anti-gay slur to describe drag queen
A screenshot of Lewes, Del., firefighter William Buckaloo‘s anti-gay comments against local drag queen Magnolia Applebottom.

A member of the Lewes Fire Department on Sunday used an anti-gay slur to describe a local drag queen.

William Buckaloo, an assistant fire chief who was once the department’s chief, called Magnolia Applebottom a “faggot” in a Facebook post he wrote while she performed at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach.

“The shit I get talked in to (sic) … Matt, talked us to go to a faggot show,” proclaimed Buckaloo in the post.

Applebottom on Monday shared Buckaloo’s post on her Instagram page. Applebottom told the Washington Blade that Buckaloo wrote the post while he was sitting in the front row during her show.

“In my eight years or performing at the Blue Moon I’ve never encountered such disrespect,” said Applebottom.

Matt Sprenkle was tagged by Buckaloo in the Facebook post, but Sprenkle told the Blade that he did not invite Buckaloo to the show nor did he attend the show, as he was dining in the restaurant at the time. Sprenkle is merely an acquaintance of Buckaloo’s; the two ran into each other at the Blue Moon but were not attending the show together.

“I do not agree with any of the comments he made and do not associate myself with them,” Sprenkle told the Blade.  

Buckaloo’s comments have sparked outrage on social media.

Mitch Case, a gay man whose parents live in Lewes, on Monday emailed a screenshot of Bucklaoo’s comments to the Blade. Case said Buckaloo should be fired.

“As a gay man whose parents reside in Lewes, I’m disgusted,” wrote Case in his email to the Blade. “To live in a community known for its acceptance of LGBTQ people and use language like this in the year 2020 is truly disgraceful.”

Lewis Fire Department Chief Steve Evans on Monday told the Blade during a telephone interview that he has removed Buckaloo from his position.

“I removed him immediately,” said Evans.

Evans also said he expects the department will formally suspend Buckaloo later on Monday. The Blade has reached out to Buckaloo and openly gay Lewes Mayor Ted Becker for comment.

“It’s sad people like Bill are hiding in plain sight,” Applebottom told the Blade. “I really hope he held accountable for his behavior.”

“I want to thank everyone in the community for their support,” she added.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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