Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Memphis radio host resorts to anti-gay bias

Thaddeus Matthews demonstrates how
anti-gay bias hurts all people in Memphis.
A local radio personality in Memphis recently launched a series of personal attacks against one of TEP PAC's endorsed candidates: Lee Harris who is running for Memphis City Council District 7.  Harris is a law professor at the University of Memphis, a product of the Memphis City Schools system, and a family man with children who have lived in District 7 for eight years. He is committed to making Memphis and his community a better place to live for all people. Harris finished first in last Thursday's election in a crowded race for the only council seat where an incumbent was not running for re-election. He will face Kemba Ford in the runoff election scheduled for Nov. 10.

Thaddeus Matthews hosts a talk radio program on the AM dial. He claims to offer "exclusive news that no other media will release" on his blog and radio program. 

Matthews is currently featuring a link on his website to a recorded interview of Lee Harris conducted by Michael Hildebrand of Memphis Loves Gays. Matthews posts the question  "Is Lee Harris gay?" on his website and asked "Lee Harris, are you a faggot?" on his radio program on Friday. Matthews alleges that Harris must have something to hide since Harris's wife did not take his last name when they were married. 

When Michael Hildebrand learned that Thaddeus Matthews was using his interview link to slander Lee Harris on his program, he decided to approach him at his office to discuss the issue directly with Matthews at his place of business:
I walked over and attempted to discuss the issue with hope he would take off the misleading link... well, being white was an issue, plus me being gay, then I mentioned that I would like him to remove the link. He went mad....Luckily the guys I work with were watching from the balcony of Harvest [Creative] otherwise I fear it would have gotten violent. He threatened me as he got in my face. Told me to leave his property, which I did promptly. He followed me out, continuing to threaten me. I am still just amazed. He is a very overweight man and full of anger. I am more than certain it would have gotten bad if I wouldn't have crossed the street.
After Hildebrand left, Matthews turned his attention to him on his radio program, calling him a "white sissy" and a "flaming sissy" and that he was "pink phone carrying." Matthews continued to threaten physical violence against Hildebrand on the air. 

Matthews will say and do anything for attention and to create controversy - his business model for boosting ratings and attracting listeners for his program. Matthews' behavior demonstrates for all how anti-gay bias hurts our community. Engaging in gay-baiting distracts from the important issues in the District 7 election and the problems that Memphis must confront. The people of District 7 deserve better than a radio host more interested in attention seeking antics than finding the best candidate for Memphis City Council. Matthews has resorted to such behavior because he has no other tools in his toolbox for reasonable debate. I am confident that the people of District 7 in particular will see through Matthews' vulgar attacks and ignore them.

1 comment:

RockyMissouri said...

This is disgusting! We try to teach kids to not bully and not go to school and be TAUGHT by bullies! These kids sound great and just need SUPPORT...! They can then go out into the world and actually make a difference.