HRC Blog

Gavin McInnes Asked to Take “Indefinite” Leave Following Transphobic Essay

Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, HRC Senior Content Manager

In response to a major backlash from LGBT people and their allies, Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of Vice and current CCO of Rooster, has been asked to take an “indefinite” leave of absence after penning a stunningly hateful essay on Thought Catalogue titled, “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural.”

HRC was among organizations calling for the post to be removed, and for fair-minded people to make known their opposition to McInnes' profane, hate-filled, and inaccurate screed.

In an email to Thought Catalog Publisher Chris Lavergne last week, HRC's Fred Sainz characterized the piece as "intentionally incendiary and damaging to the lives of LGBT people," and urged that it be removed. HRC Foundation Director of Program Strategies Jay Brown called it “mind-boggling that Thought Catalog would hand its megaphone over to someone with such a toxic and factually wrong message.”

Other members of the LGBT community also criticized the essay, with Advocate’s Parker Malloy describing McInnes’ essay as “language more vile than even the most overt transphobes would dare print.”

The public rallied against the essay as well, with readers posting thousands of comments condemning McInnes’ essay, and creating Tumblr and Twitter accounts calling for a boycott of companies that work with McInnes’ ad company, Rooster.

Regarding the company’s decision to remove McInnes from his position, a representative from Rooster said, "Gavin's views are his own and do not represent those of the company or its members. We are extremely disappointed with his actions and have asked that he take a leave of absence while we determine the most appropriate course of action."

Thought Catalogue, which has since redirected the post through a page warning readers that it was reported for “hateful or abusive content,” has also come under fire for one of its writer’s racist reporting on the Michael Brown shooting.

Brown added, “I applaud Thought Catalogue and Rooster for denouncing McInnes’ essay, and can only hope that they both decide that the best ‘course of action’ is to continue to unequivocally condemn transphobic, racist, homophobic and otherwise discriminatory language, as well as the people who promote such ideas.”

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