US bookseller Barnes & Noble confirmed this week it would stop selling a calendar criticised for its depiction of gays, while its author hit back at critics.
Joe King’s calendar, I’m Not Gay, I’m Just a Sissy: 12 Months of Sexual Confusion, which was only available from the retailer online, includes jokes about AIDS and gay lifestyles.
One of King’s cartoons depicts Paul Revere riding on horseback and shouting “The sodomites are coming! The sodomites are coming!”. It is dedicated to the memory of the US revolutionary hero and to gay rights opponent Anita Bryant.
The cartoonist had responded angrily to complaints raised by gay blogger Andy Towle that the anti-gay calendar was being sold by Barnes & Noble and online retailer Amazon.
King commented on the controversy on Facebook, saying: “Hoo-we! Hell hath no fury like a he/she scorned… The telephone tree of tantrums is lit up like a Las Vegas marquee for “Boy-Lesque” today with hate mail, threats of boycott and even the risk of Jesus spitting on me for my “Sissy” calendar.”
He added that AIDS was an “elective disease” which would stop “the day guys quit sticking it to each other. And for the tragedy of women and children infected… THAT stops the day their gay husbands and fathers stop cheating on them. Anyone need MORE education, science or funding to understand THAT?”
While Amazon in the US continues to stock the calendar, it has received 3 five-star reviews and 620 1-star reviews, the lowest rating possible. The calendar is also currently available for purchase through Amazon.co.uk.
GLAAD was informed the calendar would no longer be available to buy at Barnes and Noble online. Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs and Communications, said: “This calendar has no business being sold and supported by reputable retailers.
“King has a right to his opinions, however anti-gay or anti-transgender they may be, but retailers also have the right to decide that they don’t want to support hateful and dehumanizing content like this.”
Yesterday morning, King told Facebook followers: “Aint the first time I’ve been banned – won’t be the last. I was born with a loud mouth and an itchy shirt, bury me next to the Baptist. [sic]“