American satirist Garrison Keillor has apologised for comments he made last week which caricatured gay men as “flamboyant” and questioned their suitability as parents.
Keillor, a prolific writer and radio personality, is most famous in the UK for his role in last year’s Robert Altman film, A Prairie Home Companion.
He is also the voice of Honda’s “Power Of Dreams” campaign.
Keillor made his comments in his March 13th column for salon.com.
“Back in the day… Everyone had a yard, a garage, a female mom, a male dad, and a refrigerator with leftover boiled potatoes in plastic dishes with snap-on lids,” he said.
“The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men – sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers.
“If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control.”
The comments were strongly criticised by Seattle columnist Dan Savage, who called it “every bit as offensive as Ann Coulter’s ‘faggot’ joke about John Edwards and (relying) on the same set of cultural prejudices.”
“I know a lot of gay couples with children, some of whom, as I type these words, are losing their health insurance in Michigan because of an anti-gay marriage amendment passed in that state,” Savage wrote.
Keillor posted his apology on the web site of National Public Radio.
“I live in a small world, the world of entertainment, musicians, writers, in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes,” he wrote.
“But in the larger world, gayness is controversial… gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-button issue.
“In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished as individuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types.
“My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding.”
Keillor concluded by saying that “Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I.”