The bigoted efforts of those attempting to ban books in Dearborn has garnered national attention.
It happened last week when late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert expressed skepticism at a claim made by Michigan’s anti-queer, anti-women Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon – imagine that – and then had to issue something of an apology.
The brouhaha began when Colbert, host of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” claimed Dixon had made up the story of a man who changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. This happened after the man allegedly just learned that Democrats stood up for queer rights and a little something called freedom of speech. Colbert issued his rather tongue-in-cheek correction after the Detroit Free Press confirmed the man — former Dearborn City Council Candidate and now apparent conservative book banner Khalil Othman, 41 — was, in fact, a real person.
In issuing his “rare correction,” Colbert said, “This very real person deserves an apology because, he says, ‘To claim that I’m not here, I don’t exist. I’m not human. That’s absolute ignorance.’
“So, I would like to apologize,” Colbert continued. “It is a terrible thing for someone to deny your very existence – just ask trans people.”
The exchange was not the first time Colbert has trolled Dixon, who latched on to the book-banning issue like a drowning woman clinging to a life preserver. She, like the other two Republican candidates at the top of the state ticket, oppose books in schools that address and speak to queer students. They also, for the record, oppose drag queens in schools and, probably, just about everywhere else, too. But that’s a different story.
Twitter user @MitchEverett2 accused Colbert of “trying to discount & cancel a #Muslim American father of 5.”
.@StevenAtHome #stevencolbert Khalil Othman is real! To claim he is not on national TV is trying to discount & cancel a #Muslim American father of 5 & former Dearborn city council candidate. Google him buddy & do your homework. #khalilOthmzn #CleaniItUpButtercup @HARRISFAULKNER
— Mitch (@MitchEverett2) November 3, 2022
The effort to ban books in Dearborn brought out over 400 mostly Muslim, Arab American men to a rally in front of Dearborn’s Centennial Library in late September. It began with a prayer in both Arabic and English, showing clear disregard for the separation of church and state. There, men held high signs with anti-gay slogans on them and attempted to shout down the two counter protestors – a 19-year-old former Dearborn schools’ student and a female senior citizen – to the point that Dearborn Police had to erect a barrier around the two to protect them.
Then, the protestors caused a school board meeting to be shut down on Oct. 11, which, coincidentally, is National Coming Out Day. The meeting was rescheduled for later in the week in a larger venue to accommodate the crowds. But the angry and highly agitated throng that packed it would not even allow those opposed to banning books to speak. Instead, they shouted over them with anti-queer slurs.
In response to Colbert’s apology, Othman said to the Detroit Free Press that the host was “creating division and hate.” Dixon, for her part, took to Twitter where she called Colbert a “gasbag,” proving the validity of the adage “It takes one to know one.”
Stephen Colbert @stephenathome, a gasbag if there ever was one, couldn’t fathom Khalil’s very existence.
Much like Colbert’s ratings, his smug gag fell flat. His comedy has devolved into pitiful, bitter political rants. Very unfunny! https://t.co/8V4Bv6DnW7
— Tudor Dixon (@TudorDixon) November 4, 2022