Activist apologizes for calling gay Councilman a ‘hissy bitch’

Spadafore offended over ‘homophobic insult’ on 'Merica 20 to Life'

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THURSDAY, July 15 — A local community activist has apologized after labeling Lansing City Council President Peter Spadafore a “hissy bitch” on a live online talk show Monday. 

The comments were made by Michael Lynn Jr., an activist and co-leader of the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter, on his show "Merica 20 to Life" shortly after Monday’s Council meeting. 

“I’ve never seen the Council get that animated about anything. Peter Spadafore looked like a hissy bitch up there. He was really upset. He was pissed,” Lynn told his viewers on Monday. 

Lynn made his comment despite having filed a  complaint with Lansing’s Board of Ethics this year after City Councilman Brandon Betz called him a “weak ass bitch” and a “dickbag troll.” Lynn’s criticism was in reference to the aftermath of a 5-2 vote in which the Council opted not to allow a late arriving resolution from mayoral candidate and Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar urging Mayor Andy Schor  to increase funding for Ingham County’s Advance Peacemaker Fellowship. 

“This is not a resolution," Spadafore  addressed Dunbar at the meeting. "It’s an email chain with words in it that look like a resolution. It came to us at 2 p.m. this afternoon. It’s not a vote against this resolution. It’s a vote against sidestepping that process after asking several times to please respect the process that City Council has."

He added: “I stand by funding the Advance Peace initiative. In fact, I’ve had several conversations with the mayor about doing so. I suggest you pick up the phone as well.”

Lynn spoke up at public comment after the vote. And his frustration continued on his show.

“He was pissed that Kathie Dunbar would call him out on disallowing something,” Lynn added. “He got real hissy. That’s why I said ‘hissy bitch.’ He got really agitated and very aggressive.”

Spadafore is gay. The LGBTQIA Resource Center at UC Davis lists “bitch” as a word that targets and dehumanizes women, even if used toward men, including queer and gay men. It also devalues women and feminity and reinforces sexism, according to the Resource Center.

“It’s a shame that in 2021 members of the LGBTQ community still face these kinds of attacks, especially from someone who purports themselves as a community leader,” Spadafore said. “I’ve heard every homophobic insult in the book and I can certainly take it, but far too many youth take their lives as part of this pattern of toxic masculinity. This type of vitriol is clearly offensive.”

Lynn issued a public apology last night after he was made aware of the impact tied to his words.

“This is some real accountability stuff. I learned something new today,” Lynn explained, noting that the impact didn’t necessarily match the intent of his words. “I apologize for that sincerely.”

Spadafore accepted Lynn’s apology today, labeling it all as an “opportunity to grow and learn.”

Last month, the Board of Ethics ruled  that Betz' messages about Lynn were discourteous but did not violate city charter. Aside from losing his job, being censured by the Council and stripped of his committee assignments, it doesn’t appear Betz will face further consequences over the incident.

Comments

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B Baer

I’m a little confused by the last paragraph. Why does an article about Mr . Spadafore and Mr, Lynn conclude with what is basically an editorial about. Mr. Betz? Also what objective journalist implies that they don’t feel someone has been punished enough? What other punishment would fit your need for justice? Should we set up a public pillory? While I’m upset that my council member chose to use such repugnant language about a prominent activist — losing his job, being censured and losing committee assignments seems fairly consequential to me. Also as an elected official isn’t the final punishment decided by the voters? So until the next election how can can you know if there will be further consequences or not?

Thursday, July 15

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