Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, condemned a homophobic remark by Michael Bloomberg's North Carolina state director James Mitchell and demanded Bloomberg apologize. According to Gen, Mitchell referred to Pete as "Butti-Jay" when appealing to influential North Carolinians in the campaign's state headquarters. He then acknowledged he was referencing Pete's sexual orientation, using one of those influencer's nickname for Pete, "Butti-gay."
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about Mitchell's remarks:
"Targeting candidates with juvenile nicknames based on personal characteristics is a Trump playbook tactic and further evidence Bloomberg is running in the wrong primary. The state campaign director's homophobic remarks are not unlike Bloomberg's past comments targeting lesbians, trans people, women and others. For his team to be untroubled by name-calling based in homophobia, and then to repeat it in Bloomberg headquarters to potential supporters, is a blatant appeal to prejudice. It is unacceptable and the Bloomberg campaign must apologize."
In response to questions from the Washington Blade about the remarks, Mitchell said: "Someone made an inappropriate joke, I tried to diffuse it at the time. I wish I had been stronger in my response."
Elliot Imse, LGBTQ Victory Fund's Senior Director of Communications, responded to Mitchell's comment: "His team let the homophobic remark stand — and repeated it — because they made a calculation and determined it better to win votes than stand against prejudice. They believed reminding people in the room that Pete is gay would work to their advantage. It's that simple. And that is why they are refusing to apologize."
It is widely reported that Bloomberg has a history of making sexist, homophobic, transphobic and other derogatory comments. In a March 2019 video, Bloomberg referred to trans people as "it" and as "some guy wearing a dress." And previously it was reported he referenced a member of the British royal family as a "horse-faced lesbian."
The comments by Mitchell follow a dramatic increase in homophobic attacks on Pete by extreme right-wing commentators, including Rush Limbaugh.
More information about Victory Fund and Pete's historic candidacy is available at victoryforpete.com . Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.
—From a press release