Spencer Kellogg | United States
Justin Jones, a libertarian candidate running for Arkansas House District 87, has called gay people “disgusting” on his personal Facebook account. In an exchange between Jones and Hawaii resident Myah Baeza, the candidate lashed out against homosexuals.
Jones attempted to roll back the severity of his comments by suggesting they were made in satire but commentators on his campaign page were not amused.
Jones, a candidate in Northeast Arkansas, made the comments during a discussion over whether homosexuals should be allowed to donate blood. In what appeared to be a hastily written “apology” that featured double spaces and threadbare excuses, Jones tried to ideologically box his way out of the disturbing statements behind a blanket of free speech:
The letter struck a markedly different chord than the aggressive and ugly language he used on Facebook. In the exchange with Baeza, Jones explicitly stated that “F__s are disgusting”
“The likelihood of a f– catching HIV is 1000% more likely then any straight person.” – Jones
“Why in God’s name would you say that?” – Baeza
“Because it’s true,” – Jones
“You think it’s okay to call gay people ‘f–s.’ You’re disgusting,” – Baeza
“F–s are disgusting. If you don’t think HIV is created by homosexuality then you need education. That’s the entirety of my post, for someone who wants free speech, you don’t act like it. I shouldn’t have said ‘f–s’ should have said homosexuals. But I won’t apologize of the moral of my comment, homosexuality is wrong, and shouldn’t be publicly endorsed.” – Jones
Baeza is calling for Jones to resign from the race while others have sided with Jones and derided a media that they deem too “politically correct.” Dr. Michael Pakko, chairmen of the Arkansas Libertarian Party, quickly distanced the party from Jones divisive comments.
Response from the Libertarian Party of Arkansas:
"The denigrating, insulting comments that have been attributed to him have no place in the political messaging of the Libertarian Party, and we disassociate ourselves from such offensive remarks."#arnews #arpx pic.twitter.com/EJk3wHBwRD
— Jessi Turnure (@JessiTurnure) April 3, 2018
Pakko finished by noting that The Libertarian Party has been a consistent supporter of equal rights since their inception in 1971. While Jones has a right to speak his mind, the homophobic comments do not align with the goals and interests of the libertarian movement at large.
What is even more frustrating about Jones tone-deaf comments are the potential effects it could have on current Arkansas Governor candidate Mark West. Running as a Congressional Candidate in 2016, West turned in one of the strongest performances for a libertarian candidate in the entire country. His candidacy for governor is seen by many as one of the strongest campaigns in the LP.
This episode will surely fan the flames of division within the party where a major faultline between right and left libertarians appears to be growing. After another controversial statement from Vice Chair Arvin Vohra over the weekend, Jones comments shine a light on the extremist and out of touch energies currently afoot within the libertarian ideology.
Image Souce Wikimedia