Chadwick Moore, a former contributing editor of The Advocate, sparked an intense backlash among LGBTs after penning Out magazine’s controversial Milo Yiannopoulous profile last September. He also recently announced himself to be a conservative in the pages of the New York Post, a move that made some cringe in its comparison of “coming out” as LGBT to announcing oneself as a former liberal. Now he has taken to Twitter claiming the murder of Mathew Shepard back in 1998 has been “debunked” as a hate crime, and Shepard — whose death has long been a symbol of the need for the LGBT civil rights movement — was “turned into a Blonde Jesus” by the “gay lobby.”
Moore’s claims appear to be based on journalist Stephen Jimenez’s much criticized book The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shepard. Jimenez attributes Shepard’s murder to crystal meth; arguing his killers — Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson — were just trying to get Shepard’s drugs.
Other journalists have since written articles debunking Jimenez’s claims, arguing that The Book of Matt is based on bad journalism and rumor.
And regardless of the murder’s motivations, defense attorneys used the “gay panic” defense, arguing that McKinney’s violent actions were triggered by memories of childhood sexual abuse.
We reached out to Moore for a comment on his statement but at this time haven’t heard back.
Did he make the comments for shock value? Is he looking to take the place of the conservative movement’s gay figurehead since the ouster of Yiannopoulos?
Saying offensive things is a pretty good career move for Republicans (as long as you don’t promote man-boy love), but dumping on a murder victim is really low.
UPDATE, March 8, 1:30 p.m. EST: Below is Moore’s response to our initial inquiry.
The “gay panic” defense was awful and stupid.
I would never want to hurt Judy Shepard or further her unimaginable pain, which I’m sure continues to this day.
Judy has done incredible work for gay rights and gay visibility, and I have the utmost respect and empathy for her.
As I also said on Twitter: “the true story of his life is more tragic and complex, and also too common.”
I understand and appreciate the power and importance that story had in winning over hearts and minds in America for the gay rights cause, and therefore it is a complicated, sticky situation. In this case, did the means of deploying a sanitized narrative justify the ends? Perhaps. (Also look at the Lawrence case in Texas that ended anti-Sodomy laws. Great ends, but those guys weren’t exactly Disney princesses). It is still worth acknowledging, 20 years later, that many very real, very unpleasant aspects of gay life, that continue to this day, may have been present in the Shepard case. And to this day the mainstream gay lobby doesn’t like to acknowledge the elements they find unsavory in our very diverse community, were so many still struggle with drugs and prostitution. I find this ugly, classist, and detrimental to truth and understanding. For the record, I’ve been publicly speaking about this for years, it’s not a recent thing. Only now that the left hates me, this one random tweet, in response to another user, seems to get interest.
I would trust an independent, gay journalist like Jimenez over Media Matters and Think Progress, both which attempted to slander and debunk him because he dared to ask questions. The book raises important questions about the reality of gay life, especially in rural America in the late 90s. Media Matters and Think Progress are irresponsible sources to quote–they make no bones about having highly politicized agendas. The Guardian and many publishers reviewed Jimenez’s book and found his research and arguments to be pretty sound.
UPDATE, March 9: It’s come to our attention that Chadwick Moore is no longer a contributing editor of The Advocate and has not written for the magazine since June 2016, despite remaining on the magazine’s online masthead at the time our story was published.
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