Pittsburgh Pirates Owner Published Homophobic Cartoon in Hawaii

On February 26, 2009, the Lahaina News – a weekly paper in Hawaii — published the following editorial cartoon.

The following week, the editor reportedly published the following statement: “We realize that last week's cartoon offended some community sensibilities.  We apologize for that.”  I cannot verify this as the apology does not appear to be published online.  I've asked a Hawaiian blogger to poke around for that information. 

You may not know that Hawaii is in the midst of of legislative battle to become the fifth state to legalize civil unions.  The legislation has passed the House and is stalled in the Hawaiian Senate.  According to news reports, more than 6,000 persons rallied against the measure.  Many of those folks were bussed in by religious groups. Surprise!

So you probably wonder what this has to do with the Pittsburgh Pirates?  After all, the Pirates have been somewhat proactive in reaching out to the local gay community.  They have “Gay Day” at PNC Park (I think it is called something else). In 2004, Mr. Leather Pittsburgh threw the first pitch during Gay Day. 

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Robert Nutting (born March 29, 1962 in Wheeling, West Virginia) is the Chairman of the Board and principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, President and CEO of Ogden Newspapers Inc. and Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, a four-season resort 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Hmmm.  The owner of the Pirates AND Seven Springs publishes a paper than ran an editorial cartoon straight from the book of Rick Santorum. 

So what exactly is Ogden Newspapers?

Ogden Newspapers, Inc., is a diversified media corporation that publishes 40 daily newspapers, several magazines, weekly newspapers and shoppers located in 12 states from Florida to upstate New York and as far west as Maui, Hawaii. The company has been headquartered in Wheeling, WV, since September 22, 1890. We are proud to be a part of the communities where our newspapers are located. This Web Site is dedicated to those communities and the organizations, governments and businesses that support them.

Included among them is the Lahaina News.  Also among his publications are Utne Reader, Mother Earth News, and the Herb Companion.

Here's my problem.  Mr. Nutting wants to make money fanning the flames of christo-bigotry to sell his newspapers in Lahaina and then turn around to collect our gay dollars here in Pittsburgh (AND the Utne Reader).  Is that okay with you?  Think carefully because his conglomerate has ten newspapers in Pennsylvania.  That's a lot of rural opinions being shaped by this family as our allies battle on two legislative fronts for gay positive bills (Anti-Discrimination and Hate Crimes).

Father Bill Albinger, pastor of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Lahaina has this to share:

“The apology is totally inadequate and shows that either they still just don't get it –  that portraying gay couples either marrying or enter civil unions as a wedding between a male human being and a sheep is dehumanizing and denigrating – is a bit more than “offending some community sensibilities”.  I don't know if the blame is on the editor or the publisher for picking the cartoonist, running that cartoon, and issuing such a weak response to community outrage.”

He continues:

“The editor of the Lahaina News does a great job with local news stories and is personally in favor of the currently pending civil unions bill in Hawaii (HB444).  The same goes for the Maui News, also controlled by the Nuttings via Ogden Publishing via Hawaiian Publications.  But every so often, out of the blue, comes some hard right wing stuff like that ugly cartoon and I always wonder, 'Where's this stuff coming from?'.”

Tis very odd, indeed.  The editor supports the civil unions ordinance, then runs a patently offensive cartoon and then issues a pretty lame apology.  Everyone is either happy or unsatisfied.  Either way, they sell newspapers.  Guess who wins? 

Hey, at least someone associated with the Pirates is winning SOMETHING.

Robert's daddy, G. Ogden, is a frequent donor to Republicans.  Nearly $50,000 last year alone.  He donated to Melissa Hart.  He's among the top “sports revenue” contributors to political campaigns.

How do you publish the Utne Reader and a cartoon equating gay marriage with man on sheep sex?  In what reality does that make any sense except the “have your cake and eat it, too” universe? 

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