Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that Fox News host John Gibson callously laughed at the death of actor Heath Ledger on the Tuesday edition of his radio show, suggesting he may have killed himself over the Democratic debate in South Carolina. Referencing a famous line from Brokeback Mountain, which Ledger starred in, Gibson disdainfully quipped, “Well, he found out how to quit you.”
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning, hosts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist eviscerated Gibson over his comments, which they deemed “grossly inappropriate” and “absolutely, totally out of line.” “I’ve got to tell you, that makes me nauseous,” added Brzezinski.
Scarborough and Geist focused in on the homophobic undertones of Gibson’s jokes about Ledger’s role in Brokeback Mountain:
SCARBOROUGH: Is he laughing that Heath Ledger died because he made a movie about two gay men? Is that why this young father dying was a punchline to John Gibson?
GEIST: Of course it is. That’s the implication.
SCARBOROUGH: So if you make a movie — this is now, it’s not that if you are gay, your death is a punchline. If you make a movie about being gay, your death becomes a punchline. I don’t know who syndicates this guy, but that is absolutely stunning, that John Gibson would be that mean-spirited and hateful.
Throughout the segment, Brzezinski was flabbergasted that Gibson may face no repercussions for his comments, at one point saying “I don’t know how you stay on the air after doing something like that, quite frankly.” Though she never actually called for Gibson to be fired, as some have inferred, she did suggest that he should not be allowed to “get away” with disparaging comments:
SCARBOROUGH: This is about as callous and harsh as anything I’ve heard. It is unspeakably rude.
BRZEZINSKI: I also just don’t see how you get away with something like that — I just don’t. I mean not that, I don’t know, I don’t know how you stay on the air. I don’t know who would listen to you. Maybe I’m not edgy enough.
Gibson is syndicated by Fox News Radio and hosts the Big Story on Fox News. Don’t let him “get away” with his “callous and harsh” remarks. Contact Fox News and John Gibson. Or give his radio show a call at 1–866–868–6861.
UPDATE: GLAAD has started a petition asking Fox News “why they continue to provide a platform for John Gibson’s cruel and tasteless comments.”