I really thought this was the year I would move on from calling out Phil Labonte on his idiotic statements, but they have a new album to promote. That means Labonte is doing a lot of interviews and naturally some idiotic things he says are bound to pop up.
You may recall back in 2011 we called Phil Labonte a homophobic asshole, which we eventually recanted… he's just an asshole. You see, he has gay friends, so it's okay for him to go about calling people faggots. As my colleague Shayne Mathis so eloquently pointed out in his brilliant op-ed "Stop Calling Everyone A Faggot," nobody is trying to censor you, just try to take two seconds to think of a more clever insult than "fag." Simple. The world will not end and censorship will not be victorious if you just take a second to stop using a word that is so hurtful to people.
The reason I bring all this up is because ThePRP brought to my attention a new quote from Labonte in the latest issue of Revolver Magazine. Labonte was asked what was the first thing he's said that really offended people and he responded in typical Labonte fashion:
“In 2005, on the Sounds Of The Underground DVD I said, “PC is for faggots.” That was the first time people went, “Whoa, what did he say?” I have nothing against gay people. It’s just a word. Honestly, I think the only people that have a legit grievance when it comes to any racial slurs is the black community. I know the homosexual community has problems with it and I understand their hurt feelings.
But homosexuals were never property. They’ve had a rough time and I’m not trying to minimize that, but I think the black community has a whole lot more room to be upset about a word than the LGBT community. It’s one thing to say, “This guy said something and it hurt my feelings and it bummed me out and it sucks.” Okay, that’s a good perspective. But I don’t know that you need a whole social movement.
When it comes to the shit that black people have gone through I think it’s okay to be like, “Well you know, that was seriously fucked up.” We need to do something about this.”
My immediate reaction upon reading this:
There is so much confusing about this statement, so let's try to go from the top.
First off, he seems to imply that "faggot" is a racial slur. Maybe this is semantics, but guess what… homosexuals are not a race. Sexual orientation has nothing to with race.
He's saying "faggot" is just a word and he has nothing against gay people. Isn't "nigger" just a word too? He's saying because black people took way more abuse than gay people, the N word can be excused but the rest are fine. Thanks for making the decision for us. Where is the line drawn on when a people take enough abuse that a derogatory statement is no longer available in the vernacular?
By his logic, only people who have been persecuted and owned can be offended by slurs. What about Jews? Remember the Holocaust? Jews have been persecuted for centuries. By your logic, shouldn't Jews have the right to be offended? And hey, this isn't a race, but a gender thing… what about women? Women were basically property before women's suffrage. Does that mean you won't be throwing around "bitch" anymore?
Labonte saying homosexuals were never owned as slaves they don't have the right to be offended may be his most offensive statement ever. Saying "they’ve had a rough time and I’m not trying to minimize that" and then going on to completely minimize gay people's struggle for acceptance shows Labonte's ignorance. The whole social movement is not to get people to stop using a word, it's a social movement of acceptance and equal rights. That should be the ultimate goal. Black, white, gay, straight, etc… we are all human beings and deserve to be treated equally, and with respect.
Here's my ultimate issue with this statement. Who the fuck is Phil Labonte to tell gay people, black people or any people what they can and cannot be offended by? Last time I checked, Phil is a white male. What suffering has he had to endure being a white guy in Massachusetts? When was the last time he was peed on and bullied while being called a faggot by his classmates? Or left paralyzed for doing nothing? Chances are he hasn't been. Because if he had, he would understand how that word can trigger uncomfortable feelings to many people throughout the world. God forbid Labonte show some sensitivity.
To quote the great Douglas Levison, who the fuck are you?