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CNN host hits out at network’s ‘homophobic’ coverage of Virginia shooting

Joseph McCormick August 28, 2015

A CNN host has called out the network over its coverage of this week’s Virginia shooting which focussed on the shooter’s ownership of gay porn sites.

This week WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward were shot and killed during a live TV news report on Wednesday morning in Virginia.

Inexplicably, CNN appeared to suggest a link between suspect Vester Flanagan’s (pseudonym Bryce Williams) ownership of legal gay porn sites.

Williams, a former employee of Virginia TV station WDBJ7, allegedly filmed himself shooting and killing the station’s reporter Alison Parker and camerman Adam Ward while they were conducting a live on-air interview.

After the shooting, police pursued him down a motorway, but before they could apprehend him, he crashed his car before shooting himself.

He owned the sites for some years before the shooting took place on Wednesday.

In a “rambling” suicide note faxed to ABC News, he allegedly cited racism and homophobia – identifying himself as a gay black man.

He was airlifted to Fairfax hospital – but died from his own self-inflicted injuries.

CNN host Don Lemon has since criticised the “gay shaming” reports by his network, whilst condemning the tragedy.

In a video posted by Media Matters he says: “The gay porn site thing, to me, I don’t really see the relevance of it.

“If it’s not illegal, then what’s wrong with him owning gay porn sites or straight porn sites or as a journalist forming a media company like Dan Abrams did? I don’t see anything wrong with it. He’s an entrepreneur, he’s an American — as long as it’s two consenting adults, I don’t see what difference it makes.”

He went on to say: “I don’t want to gay-shame him. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. I’m sure he probably faced some discrimination, as we all do, and that’s horrible. But it still does not condone his actions two days ago.”

Despite CNN’s coverage never explicitly drawing a link between the gay porn sites and the shooting, correspondent Drew Griffin called the revelation “just another disturbing twist” in the incident.

Watch the segment featuring Don Lemon below:

More: CNN, shooting, US, Virginia

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