Homophobic Pasadena Official Who Said 'Will And Grace' Was The Devil's Work Put On Leave
So much for choosing a "safe" candidate for a commencement speech. PCC skipped over Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in favor of a guy who thinks Will and Grace is the work of Satan. And now that guy—Pasadena Public Health Director Eric Walsh—has been put on leave for his out-and-out homophobia.
Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist, had public recordings of his sermons to congregations all over the internet, including YouTube. Out reported that in one of the sermons, Walsh was critical of the gay community, saying:
"Today you have whole shows, like 'Will and Grace,' where the whole theme is around gayness, if there is such a word. How does the devil do it? ... He doesn’t give you a whole lot of it at once...You become immunized against something that was once was revolting to American society. That’s why there were laws...against sodomy and homosexuality. How do you go from what we had in the ’70s to gay marriage?"
The L.A. Times also found a gem of a quote during one of his sermons, where Walsh compared Disney to a "dark empire" full of "witchcraft, superstition."
When the Students for Social Justice group found these recordings, Walsh was under fire, and he stepped down from doing the PCC commencement address earlier this week, saying he had a scheduling conflict, according to the Times.
However, in an ironic twist, homophobic Walsh was tapped to do the speech to replace Black, an LGBT rights activist. The school dropped the PCC alum and Milk screenwriter after they discovered Black's private nude photos of him having sex with his boyfriend that had been leaked online without his consent back in 2010. The school reinvited Black on Wednesday to speak at the ceremony after the Walsh controversy, according to the Pasadena Star News. It's not clear if he has agreed to speak yet.
Black blasted the school for being "discriminatory, toxic and dishonest," according to an interview with truthdig.com (via KPCC). He wrote a letter to the students of PCC, saying administrators were “sending the message that LGBT students are to be held to a different standard, that there is something inherently shameful about who we are and how we love, and that no matter what we accomplish in our lives, we will never be worthy of PCC’s praise.”
As for Walsh, City Manager Michael J. Beck released a statement that said:
“Dr. Eric Walsh has been placed on temporary paid administrative leave to provide the City of Pasadena the opportunity to complete an inquiry into statements made by him, in his private capacity, and to assess the impact those statements may have on his ability to effectively lead the City’s Public Health Department."