As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
by Jessica Carreras
In the latest bit of news regarding anti-gay blogger and Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, David Leyton, has released a statement calling for Shirvell’s firing, and asking Republican AG candidate Bill Schuette to join him.
In May, Between The Lines identified Shirvell at a rally held outside of the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s production of “The Laramie Project,” where members of Westboro Baptist Church were expected to be protesting the play.
Instead, the May 8 rally was faced with a different foe: Shirvell, who spent his time there interrupting a speech given by then newly elected University of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong and holding a sign calling Armstrong a “racist liar.”
Further investigation revealed that Shirvell runs a blog called “Chris Armstrong Watch,” on which he posts photos and comments about the openly gay student president, who Shirvell frequently refers to as a “radical homosexual activist.”
The country caught word of Shirvell’s antics when he was interviewed on “Anderson Cooper 360” Sept. 28.
Cooper grilled Shirvell, reading him definitions of the words “bigot” and “cyber-bullying” and asking him if he thought either term applied to him.
On Sept. 29, as calls and e-mails continued to flood Attorney General Mike Cox’s office demanding that Shirvell be fired, Leyton joined the debate, releasing a statement “demanding Attorney General Mike Cox fire his assistant for harassing and stalking an openly gay student at the University of Michigan.”
Leyton referred to Shirvell’s blog as “cyber-bullying,”
“It’s absolutely outrageous that Mike Cox continues to give Andrew Shirvell a generous taxpayer-funded salary, even while he cyber-stalks and intimidates a young college student,” Leyton said. “This type of conduct is unbecoming of the attorney general’s office, and it’s yet another example of why we need to clean up Lansing.”
Leyton then requested that Republican AG candidate Schuette join him in his demand that Shirvell be fired. Schuette has not yet responded.
Meanwhile, Cox also appeared on “AC 360” Sept. 29, saying that Shirvell’s blogging is protected under the First Amendment and that his job is safe.
“Mr. Shirvell is sort of a front-line grunt assistant prosecutor in my office,” Cox said. “He does satisfactory work and off-hours, he’s free to engage under both our civil service rules, Michigan Supreme Court rulings and the United States Supreme Court rule.”
When questioned as to whether Shirvell was a cyber-bully, Cox said, “He’s clearly a bully, absolutely, and is he using the Internet to be a bully? Yes. But is that protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes.”
In Michigan, there are no laws prohibiting cyber-bullying.
According to AnnArbor.com, Armstrong, who has refused to speak to media about the matter, read a statement addressing the issue at a recent student assembly meeting.
“I will not back down. I will not flinch. I will not falter. I will not succumb to any unwarranted attacks. What I will do is I will carry on with the utmost pride and vindication,” Armstrong said. “I, along with the rest of this assembly, were elected to this body to represent the university. And nothing said about us, or regarding our personal merits, will waive our commitment to serve the student body.”
To contact the attorney general’s office, e-mail email@example.com.