Maine GOP Candidate Offers Apology for 'Skinhead Lesbian' Comment About Parkland Shooting Survivor

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday March 14, 2018

Leslie Gibson is running unopposed for a seat in the Maine state legislature. Whether that will stay the case for long remains to be seen.

Gibson, who is already on this year's election ticket for Maine House 57th District, slammed one survivor of the Parkland high school mass shooting as a "skinhead lesbian" and accused another teen who survived that nightmare a "bald faced liar," media outlets, including NBC, reported.

"There is nothing about this skinhead lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you're a frothing at the mouth moonbat," Gibson declared about 18-year-old Emma González in a tweet that sparked a firestorm.

It didn't take long for the public - and a few Maine state officials - to clap back with such intensity that Gibson soon issued an apology to González. "WANTED: Dem challenger for Maine House District 57," one Twitter user posted, while another declared, "Emma is a hero to us all," followed by, "Les Gibson is Garbage".

Gibson's apology did not extend to another Parkland survivor he trashed, David Hogg, who has emerged as one of the spokespeople of the youth movement to reign in the terror of gun violence that plagues America.

Hogg, Gibson tweeted, was "a bald faced liar" for suggesting that the NRA has certain lawmakers in its pocket.

"Hogg doesn't get a pass when he blatantly lies," Gibson fumed, according to an article in the Portland Press Herald.

Ironically, Gibson himself tossed off a mischaracterization of González in calling her a "lesbian." The young woman, who also serves as the head of Parkland high school's Gay-Straight Alliance, identifies as bisexual. Unclear is whether Gibson realized that in calling González a "skinhead" he was deliberately attempting to smear her with the racism, violence, and contempt for law that skinheads represent in the popular imagination.

Citizens and lawmakers alike in Maine seemed unwilling to issue Gibson - himself a staunch supporter and member of the NRA - with his own free pass, reported Yahoo News. One Republican state senator, Amy Volk, demanded that Gibson take his name off the ballot. The state's Democratic Party chairman, Phil Bartlett, echoed Volk and asserted that Gibson's Twitter blast was "disgusting and not representative of Maine values."

The Press Herald quoted Democratic organizer Pat Fogg as saying, "I wish I knew someone who could get into this race." Added Fogg, "That sort of stupidity really turns people off."

Later on, evidently in an attempt to smooth things over as criticism mounted, Gibson offered an apology to González. "I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you," he tweeted. "It was wrong and unacceptable. You are doing work that is important to you. I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you."

Gibson then made his Twitter accounts private.

In a truly Trumpian twist, the entire debacle may have erupted from case of "whose is bigger, mine or yours?" in terms of social media reach. Gibson reportedly flew into his Twitter tantrum after political publication The Hill reported that González has more Twitter followers than the NRA.

Gibson framed his attacks on the two teen activists as a matter of protecting "constitutional rights," evidently a reference to the Second Amendment, which states, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," though there are no subsequent guidelines offered as to whether limiting civilian access to military grade weapons would constitute an "infringement" or a reasonable and necessary measure.

The Second Amendment offers an equally important, though much less avidly promoted guarantee that promises, "no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.