After publicly mocking Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg on Twitter for “whining about” being rejected by four universities he applied to, nationally syndicated conservative talk show host and Fox News host Laura Ingraham found herself the target of Hogg’s response: a campaign to get her show’s advertisers to drop her.
Thus far, five of the 12 companies Hogg listed as targets — TripAdvisor, Wayfair, Nestle, Nutrish and Expedia — have pledged to pull their ads.
Ingraham has since apologized “in the spirit of Holy Week” (i.e., because she’s losing sponsors), but Hogg has said he’ll only accept her apology if she denounces the way Fox News has treated him and the other Parkland survivors-turned-firearms regulation activists. (The network has basically characterized them as whiney, anti-American do-nothings.)
But apart from her horribleness towards Hogg, it’s worth remembering Laura Ingraham’s gross history of homophobia and transphobia. (And she’s also made many racist statements, too, by the way.)
While in university, Laura Ingraham was a rabidly anti-gay editor.
Ingraham’s journalism career began with her serving as the first-ever female editor-in-chief of Darmouth University’s independent conservative newspaper The Dartmouth Review. Her faculty adviser Jeffrey Hart has said she held “the most extreme anti-homosexual views imaginable,” even avoiding a local restaurant where “she feared the waiters were homosexual and might touch her silverware or spit on her food, exposing her to AIDS.”
For one 1987 article in The Dartmouth Review, she sent a reporter, unannounced, to gay student meetings and published a transcript with names of its attendees in the paper. For good measure she also mailed tapes of the meeting to the students’ parents, just to out them. Ingraham called the campus gay rights group “cheerleaders for latent campus Sodomites.”
When Ingraham’s own brother Curtis came out, she wrote a 1994 column in The Washington Post in which she said her “views and rhetoric about homosexuality have been tempered” by hearing her brother had to identify himself as a “caretaker” when trying to care for his male partner in the hospital.
Nevertheless, throughout the 2000s until today she has opposed marriage equality, something that would’ve helped give her brother the legal rights to visit his partner in the hospital. Even today she says the Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex couples to marry will lead to legal recognition of incestuous relationships, a common right-wing talking point that continues to conflate gay people with sexual predators and child molesters.
Laura Ingraham is transphobic and supports parents harming their trans children.
In 2008, Gays and Lesbians Allied called Ingraham one of the most anti-gay voices of 2008 and said she used transgender people “as punching bags.” In one segment Ingraham questioned how parents of a transgender second-grader “aren’t embarrassed” by their child and said the Transgender Leadership Summit is “killing the culture.”
She hasn’t stopped since then, either. In 2014, Laura Ingraham called hormone therapy for transgender children a form of “child abuse.” She blames parents for “pushing” their children to become transgender, stating kids can’t really know if they’re transgender. (Media Matters reminds us that “most children have a firm sense of their gender identity by age 4, and that identity remains stable for the majority of children.”)
Ingraham also suggests that parents ignore their trans kids’ identities and just reinforce whatever gender they were assigned at birth, something that increases the likelihood of trans kids becoming mentally ill and killing themselves.
She’s also said that everyone should just start wearing diapers instead of going to transgender-inclusive bathrooms.