Rep. Eric Porterfield spoke to LGBTI news outlet The Advocate about his controversial statements, which caused many Democratic lawmakers in the state to call for his resignation.
According to Porterfield, his comments about drowning his children were misconstrued by the ‘liberal media.’ In fact, he was referencing the Mel Gibson movie Maverick.
To refresh, Porterfield had the following exchange with WVVA TV’s Rachel Anderson back in February:
‘You have an adorable daughter and a precious son. What would happen if in a few years from now when they’re teens, young adults they came to you and said they think they might be gay or a lesbian?’ Anderson asked.
‘I will address my daughter first. I would take her for a pedicure. I’d take her to get her nails done and see if she could swim,’ Porterfield answered.
‘If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting. I would take him fishing and see if he could swim,’ he continued, with a grin.
‘What do you mean you would see if they could swim?’ Anderson asked.
‘I just want to make sure they could swim,’ he replied, refusing to clarify further.
Now, in an email to The Advocate, Porterfield claims he was quoting a Gibson movie. The 1994 movie Maverick stars Mel Gibson (widely deemed a homophobe), James Garner, and Jodie Foster.
‘This was a reference to the movie Maverick with Mel Gibson. This had nothing to do with drowning my children,’ Porterfield stated. ‘Cheating on the boat meant you could no longer be on the boat and the last thing that was asked was “Do you swim?” as a courtesy.’
‘Amazing how liberal media assumes and tries to make facts in these type of situations for self-benefit. LGBTQ activist group, Fairness WV are propagators of this type of nonsense,’ he continued.
Porterfield, who is blind, blamed West Virginia Democratic Party Chair Belinda Biafore for endangering his safety following his remarks going viral.
‘WVDP President Malinda [sic] Biafore has spread lies inspiring hate crimes against us,’ Porterfield wrote. ‘Remember I am totally blind and have had people threaten my safety as a government official.’
‘One man has been arrested and let out on bond but I don’t think that made international news.’
Who was arrested?
Porterfield is referring to Jonathan George Benfer, who was charged earlier this month for intimidation and retaliation against a public official for statements made in a phone call. Details of the aforementioned phone call were released in the complaint, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
‘I’m a f*ggot! If you want to take us on, my people, you take me on personally. If you want to bash a f*ggot, you can call me up and we have it out mister, I will come! You’re a fucking coward,’ Benfer allegedly said, according to the complaint.