Carson Daly has already apologized for what many, including GLAAD, deemed an offensive joke while discussing the recent JetBlue incident in which passengers had to subdue their pilot after he had an inflight meltdown. But Alice Hoagland, mother of Mark Bingham — one of the passengers who charged the cockpit of hijacked Flight 93 on the morning of 9/11 — would like to remind everyone, including Daly, that stereotyping gay men is wrong.
On his morning radio show Wednesday, Daly had said, “It turns out on this particular [JetBlue] flight, most of the people were on their way to some sort of security conference in Las Vegas…. There was a bunch of dudes and well-trained dudes. What are the odds of that? …. Thank god…. My luck, it would be like, ‘This is the flight going to [the gay pride parade] in San Francisco’ …. I mean, that would be my colleagues…. ‘Uh, we’re headed down to Vegas for the floral convention.’…. ‘Can we get a little help up here with the pilot?’ ‘Oh, Nooo!’…. ‘No thank you. Handle it.'”
Wednesday afternoon, Daly apologized on Twitter: “This morning on my radio show I attempted to make fun of myself & offended others by mistake. I sincerely apologize.” He also issued a full statement to GLAAD:
We live in a time where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals find courage every day to overcome adversity, stand up to bullying and find equality. I’m truly saddened that my words today suggested otherwise. I’ve long been a supporter of gay, lesbian, and transgender rights, and I’m saddened that my comments, however unintentional, offended anyone, specifically members of the LGBT community. The fact that I have hurt anyone is devastating. I’m not that guy. I’m proud to be an ally of the LGBT community and will continue to fight with them.
GLAAD said it looks forward to working with Daly to fight alongside them for the full equality of LGBT Americans. In a statement, written as a letter to Daly, Hoagland explains why she’d like to work with Daly as well:
Dear Mr. Daly:
With your on-the-air comments [Wednesday] morning, you demonstrated an ugly ignorance. But [Wednesday] afternoon you also showed the grace to apologize for your odd remarks, as you should. I hope that now you’ll take the opportunity to learn about the gay community, and how diverse it is. Gay men and women come in every shape and size: short, tall, slender, stout, delicate, and powerful. They do not deserve to be stereotyped, nor categorized. Yes, my gay son was known in our family for bringing me flowers on my birthday and Mother’s Day. He also was known for careening down the rugby pitch, and, on the morning of September 11, 2001, for charging unarmed down the aisle of a doomed Boeing 757 to face knife-wielding Islamist thugs in a hijacked cockpit. No one among his pick-up team of fellow passengers was asking “Are you straight? Are you gay?” No one doubted that a guy who weighed 220 and stood 6’4” tall — who could run over a charging opponent on the field, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona earlier that summer — would be an asset to a desperate group trying to overcome a threat onboard an airliner. My son and the brave straight guys who fought alongside him weren’t able to save their own lives that morning. Terrorists plowed the plane underground during the struggle for controls. But Mark and his fellow passengers were able to keep UA Flight 93 from crashing into the U.S. Capitol Dome, and kept many people in Washington, D.C. off the rolls of the dead.
The world has its share of strong, heroic gay men. Gay men in sports uniforms and military uniforms have been winning America’s games and fighting America’s battles for a long time: quietly, humbly, and in the face of vicious bigotry.
I hope you and I may have an opportunity to talk sometime. I prefer to believe you didn’t mean to offend. Good luck to you.
Mother of Mark Bingham
California Golden Bears Rugby, University of California, Berkeley
San Francisco Fog Rugby Club
United Airlines Flight 93 Newark to San Francisco 9/11/2001