Creep of the Week: Virginia Foxx

By |2018-01-16T06:04:02-05:00May 7th, 2009|Opinions|

Was the murder of Matthew Shepard a hoax? Is he actually alive and well, hanging out with Elvis, perhaps? My, what a scandal! Thank you Virginia Foxx, Republican Representative from North Carolina, for bringing this matter to our national attention.
To be fair, Foxx didn’t claim that Shepard wasn’t actually killed, nor was she saying she’s glad he’s dead. She was simply saying that Shepard wasn’t killed for being gay and that all the homos who say that he was are just trying to get poor, gullible straight people to feel bad for them and grant them protection from similar crimes.
“The hate crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay,” Foxx said during the hearing on the U.S. House floor on hate crimes legislation. “This … hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.”
For some reason, Foxx’s comment made a lot of gay rights supporters pretty upset.
“A hoax? Belittling the brutal murder of a 21-year-old college student? And Republicans wonder why their angry, hateful, pathetic party is now only 20 percent of the U.S. population,” wrote John Aravosis of AmericaBlog. “I wonder where Virginia Foxx stood on letting blacks swim in our pools fifty years ago. Actually, I think I already know.”
“He was killed because he was gay and she is making light of that fact,” said Matt Comer, editor of Q-Notes, North Carolina’s LGBT paper.
“She should be ashamed,” said Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia. “That is unreal, unbelievable. The law enforcement people and almost every reasonable person I know believes he was murdered because he was gay.”
It only took a few days for Foxx to claim that the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding.
“The term ‘hoax’ was a poor choice of words used in the discussion of the hate crimes bill,” Foxx said in a statement. “Mr. Shepard’s death was nothing less than a tragedy, and those responsible for his death certainly deserved the punishment they received.”
How very generous of her (then again, she’s a Republican. She can’t risk seeming soft on crime, so long as it’s not motivated by sexual orientation).
So where did she get her information about robbery being the motivation for Shepard’s killing? An ABC report that has long since been written off as a load of garbage void of journalistic integrity. “Referencing these media accounts may have been a mistake, but if so, it was a mistake based on what I believed were reliable accounts,” she said.
“In the heat of trying to handle the rule on the floor, anybody can use a bad choice of words. Saying that the event was a hoax was a poor choice of words,” Foxx later told WXII-12 News. “I’ve apologized for that. I never meant in any way to harm the family or offend the family or anybody else for that matter.”
In other words, it’s not her fault if she used bogus sources. Who has time for fact checking when such a heated debate is in full swing?
“She’s apologizing for semantics,” said Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother.
Which, of course, is not the same thing as saying, “I’m sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Shepard, for perpetuating a lie about your viciously murdered son in order to score political points with my anti-gay base.”

About the Author:

D'Anne Witkowski
D'Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.