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03/05/2008

McKinney, TX update

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 6-118FYI, dear readers: In regards to the comment that was made to our site by an email address that belongs to a public school official in Texas, this writer has in the past 24 hours been (a) threatened by McKinney,TX authorities (via email, of all methods) into turning over IP information, (b) told by a local reporter that an investigation has been conducted that cleared the alleged author of the comment (despite this site providing them with no information), and (c) told that there is a letter from an attorney demanding that we remove our post, even though said letter has never made it to us in either print or email form. The threats are starting to seem unorthodox at best, and pointedly intimidatory at worst.

So here, once again, are the facts: (1) Someone who identified themselves as Dr. James Davis posted an extremely anti-gay comment. (2) The IP address linked the comment to the general vicinity of Mr. Davis' school district. (3) We made a post about how improper it is for a public school official to post anti-gay comments under their school addy, all the while acknowledging in the post the possibility that it could've been someone pranking him (even if the language in the comment was not at all "prank-like," merely gay-unfriendly). (4) After our post, we were threatened by a tech guy within the school district (with outlandish claims made about improper photo usage and defamation). (5) Subsequent emailers told us and others with absolute certainty that Dr. Davis had been 100% cleared, even though the only info that could've possibly been provided by him is anecdotal (and overlooking that nobody has accused him of anything criminal, just of being the person who used his own email address to post a web comment!) (6) Folks like the aforementioned detectives and reporters are now on our case, forcing us to seek legal advice and possibly even counsel.

So there ya have it. We have no real point in documenting all of this here, other than so we can direct further inquiries to this post rather than explaining the situation for the umpteenth time. We also hope that people will consider putting just a tad bit of stock in our transparency and full disclosure, considering that we have nothing to hide, prove, or gain from this situation. We were merely the recipients of a nasty bit of rhetoric, which we highlighted in the interest of thwarting homophobia.

::sigh:: We always wish we lived in a world where our work defending LGBT people was not necessary. This situation, however, has taken it to a whole new level.

**ONE INTERESTING NOTE: If you go to the page where Mr. Davis' bio resides, you will see that his email address has been removed. You can compare the site as it exists now with the screencap we took on Monday. We are not going to editorialize even a little bit about why the addy would have been scrubbed. We just wanted to record the fact.

**UPDATE. 3/06: McKinney, TX Update #2 [G-A-Y]

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

Jeremy,

Thanks for standing your ground. You have been fully above board and honest and when others start making threats it usually is because they have something to hide.

I hope that the school district ceases attacking you and decides to really investigate this matter.

Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Mar 5, 2008 5:11:00 PM

Thanks, Timothy. I will have to say that the whole "He didn't do it. He promises. You're just a mean liar." mentality has been quite bizarre. There has been only one person who has expressed any desire to actually investigate the truth behind the claims. The others have just tried to intimidate, threaten, and make baseless claims about this site.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 5, 2008 5:21:24 PM

Dr. Davis (or theoretically someone claiming to be him,) posted the comment on your blog. You responded.

I don't understand why these people could reasonably believe you have done something wrong.

Aren't there any Attorneys reading the site that can help Jeremy pro bono?

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Mar 5, 2008 5:23:43 PM

Good for you, Jeremy. I love what you do here, and I'm thrilled that you're not backing down in light of these threats.

On the other hand, it's sad that we still have to deal with the kinds of comments that started this whole thing.

Keep up the good work exposing all of the hypocrisy and incredible double standards coming from the anti-gay contingent out there. One can hope those views will be marginalized and seen as hateful and archaic, as they rightly should be, in the near future.

Posted by: Brian W. | Mar 5, 2008 5:25:02 PM

Sheesh - some people! There is a saying that goes: "The world is an ocean of fools with a few islands of reason." - G-A-Y is one of those islands. Thanks for all you do.

Posted by: EvilPoet | Mar 5, 2008 5:27:23 PM

GayMormonBoy: Fortunately I'm getting excellent legal advice/help.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 5, 2008 5:28:52 PM

You know what is really kind of weird? Dr. Davis never actually replied directly (or did I miss that). If it were me and assuming that "I was pranked," my first instinct would be to write the author of the blog and say "I'm sorry, my email was hijacked and the post that you received wasn't from me and doesn't reflect my views." In which case, you probably post that comment or a retraction, etc. etc.

Dr. Davis never did that. His first thought was to send all of these other people your way. Weird. To me that is incriminating. It means either it *was* him or if it wasn't him, he can'y say that these are not his views becasue he agress with them. Either way, it's a problem.

Posted by: Ed | Mar 5, 2008 5:29:00 PM

No, never once, Ed. He has been CCed on some emails that have been sent to me, but he has never tried to contact this site.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 5, 2008 5:31:10 PM

I live near McKinney.
This homophobia is bad enough, but the fact that he did it under the guise of the school district should bring pause from anyone I would think. That and the fact that he is in charge of HR.
You should contact one of the local news stations. All 4 affiliates have investigative reporters. Becky Oliver from Channel 4, the local Fox affiliate is particularly tenacious. www.myfoxdfw.com
This kind of stuff makes me seethe.
Keep up the great work.

Posted by: Brad | Mar 5, 2008 5:51:02 PM

Screen shots are nice but web archives are even nicer
http://web.archive.org/web/20070827161503/http://www.mckinneyisd.net/departments/humanresources/

Posted by: Patrick B | Mar 5, 2008 5:59:20 PM

That email address is still open and receiving mail. I have sent two and they are not returned.

Posted by: LMendoza MD | Mar 5, 2008 8:10:54 PM

LMendoza: No, I wouldn't think the email would be canceled. It's just odd that they chose to remove it from the site, where it had been prominently posted.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 5, 2008 8:24:59 PM

I teach in this district (at the community college level). The homophobia is outrageous in this part of North Texas. It's a nightmare. Sexual orientation is not included in the district's EEOC policy. I've never encountered so many faith-based bigots in one place. Mega "churches" on every street corner. Students who, in class, argue gays need to change or die. My school is actually considering hiring a full time faculty member who was once head of the Colorado for Family Values with documented speeches of hate toward gays (he's currently on staff as a part-time instructor, teaching interpersonal communication!). The gay/lesbian faculty and staff walk on egg shells...many with fake marriages and opposite sex "partners" as cover just to protect their jobs.

Posted by: Nugget | Mar 6, 2008 11:20:34 AM

McKinney has been my home where my husband and I have raised our children. While McKinney can be portrayed and dismissed as conservative, please know that this stereotype does not fit the majority of people I know in McKinney. There are many of us with very liberal and broad viewpoints in life - I know because they are my friends from work, church, and community activities.
I am saddened and disgusted that any person would make the remarks that were attributed to Dr. Davis's name; however, I can say with assurance that Dr. Davis would never make any statements of this kind, in writing nor in speech. I have worked for McKinney ISD for almost 13 years as a teacher and administrator and have worked closely with Dr. Davis.
I hestiate to try to describe Dr. Davis because in today’s society people casually attach superlatives to any description, minimizing the effectiveness of the terms; however, please trust that I use these terms with the fullest of their intent. Dr. Davis can best be described as honorable, thoughtful, compassionate, principled, and responsive.
Once again, I am sickened by the repugnant and vitriolic anti-gay rhetoric posted on your site by an obviously ignorant and mean-spirited person. I hope that, through this testimony, it will become clear that Dr. Davis is indeed NOT this person.

Posted by: Amy Smith | Mar 8, 2008 11:12:18 AM

Amy: This site has made no claims about McKinney, TX as a place. And we've never made any claims about Dr. Davis as a person. All we can do is present every single fact that has been presented to us, which is what we have done.

But here's the thing: If Dr. Davis truly did not make the comment, then he and everyone in his corner has followed a VERY unorthodox, unfair, and even threatening course towards clearing his name. And in doing so, they have exacerbated the situation and raised more questions than would've ever been necessary. If Dr. Davis would have written us back in sincerity as soon as we made him aware of the comment (which is what 99.9% of people would do if faced with such a situation), then we would have detected the sincerity in his voice and worked with him to get his side out.

But that's not what happened. At all. It immediately turned into a situation where EVERYONE on his side instantaneously, without question denied his connection to the comment (with absurd claims that have nothing to do with matter made). And then they immediately tried to accuse us of everything from defamation to improper image usage. And people who have NO RIGHT TO DO SO were commanding us to pull the post, reveal IP information , etc. Then to make matters even more enraging, they started making complete lies to the press regarding supposed letters they had sent us and attorneys that had supposedly contacted us. And if that weren't enough, they added an extra layer regarding alleged credit card and financial fraud that Dr. Davis had experienced, and somehow tried to connect that with an email address that was left on our site! The same email address that every single person leaves when they comment on this site!!

Virtually every single piece of contact that has come to us from the general direction of Mckinney has been skewed. People who should be unbiased and have an interest in getting to the bottom of this have instead come to us from a place in which both Dr. Davis's lack of connection to the comment and our "impropriety" is a certainty to them. That's very unsettling.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 8, 2008 12:02:48 PM

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