The University of Tennessee (UT) has made the decision to pull state funding from a week-long sex education event, following a complaint by a Fox News radio host who claimed that it was giving the money to a “lesbian bondage” expert.

Fox News radio host Todd Starnes last week noted that the UT intended to spend $20,000 (£13,200) on the six-day Sex Week event, which included events on topics from sexual pleasure to how UT can tackle sexual assaults.

Starnes used the headline: “University of Tennessee Uses Student Fees to Host Lesbian Bondage Expert.”

He also pointed to the scheduled appearance of author Sinclair Sexsmith, who was set to conduct a workshop on poetry about sexuality.

Despite Sexsmith telling Fox News that she would “not be engaging in lesbian bondage demonstrations,” Starnes pointed to the fact that she is described as an “expert in sexuality and leather”.

The coverage by Starnes got the attention of Republican Senator Stacey Campfield, who has historically been vocally anti-gay, and who threatened to reconsider the university’s budget, over the event, reports RawStory.

“We are not talking about health and safety to do a drag show. What are these issues so important for?” Campfield said. “This is not something that the parents sent their kids to school to learn, this is not even close, we have some serious issues going on at the University of Tennessee.”

The university’s Chancellor, Jimmy G Cheek, said in a statement on Wednesday that the university would not use state money to fund the event.

He said: “We support the process and the students involved, but we should not use state funds in this manner.”

The event’s organiser Brianna Rader, said the event would go on as planned, despite the potential funding setback.

She said: “We felt pretty blindsided… Despite the controversy, the administration was still pretty positive about it earlier this week.”

“This whole thing makes it more important to do this. People are getting upset about college kids talking about sex education? This sounds made up. This sounds like we’re in a movie,” she added. “It was a cowardly move, and I’m disappointed in them.”

Rader encouraged those in support of the event to go online to sign a petition calling for the chancellor to reinstate the funding for the event.

In January it was reported that the university was considering joining the ranks of American schools that offer gender neutral housing after the passing of a bill by the Student Government Association.

Back in September, administrators at the University of Tennessee announced that they would not offer health insurance benefits to partners of gay employees.

Back in February, Tennessee Republican Senator, Stacey Campfield, revived a bill proposing to limit mentions of homosexuality in schools, with an added clause that would order schools to report any student’s “gay activity” to their parents.

Campfield’s previous track record on LGBT issues includes comparing homosexuality to bestiality, and claiming that it is “virtually impossible” to contract HIV through heterosexual sex.

In February, he compared being gay to “shooting heroin”.