A would-be politician in Arkansas has announced that he is suspending his campaign after posting an anti-gay message on Facebook.
Justin Jones was standing as a State Representative for the Arkansas House as a Libertarian. Elections take place in November.
However, he became involved in a spat on Facebook over the weekend and resorted to homophobic language.
Last Friday, Facebook user Myah Baeza posted a message expressing anger that her friend, who is gay, could not donate blood because of his sexuality.
Her friend had posted, ‘My blood is too gay to save a life.’ Baeza had shared the post and said, ‘This is such an antiquated rule and it disgusts me. Women can have AIDS, too, and they search for it anyways?’
Baeza, from Hawaii, told KARK that her own political views lie between Republican and Libertarian. Many of her Facebook friends share these views. However, she was unprepared for one – Justin Jones – to respond from his personal account.
‘The likelihood of a fag catching HIV is 1000% more likely than any straight person,’ he said.
‘Why in God’s name would you say that?,’ responded Baeza.
‘Because it’s true,’ said Justin Jones.
‘You think it’s okay to call gay people ‘f–s.’ You’re disgusting,’ Baeza responded.
‘Fags are disgusting,’ Jones replied. ‘If you don’t think HIV is created by homosexuality then you need education. That’s the entirety of my post, for someone who wants free speech, you don’t act like it. I shouldn’t have said ‘fags’ should have said homosexuals. But I won’t apologize of the moral of my comment, homosexuality is wrong, and shouldn’t be publicly endorsed.’
Baeza brought the comments to the attention of the media as she believes voters should know about the beliefs of those they are voting for.
‘It just really upset me that there’s still people out there who feel like they can publicly say these kinds of things without ridicule.’
Justin Jones claims comments were ‘satire’
Jones responded by posting a message to his website clarifying his remarks.
‘I recently made a comment that was meant to be satire, but had FACTUAL meaning. In the new day of Social Media, we face backlash for every comment we make, which is putting ‘Free Speech’ at a price.
‘The Aids Epidemic is a VERY big part of the LGBTQ Community. To not recognize that would be a ‘Lie’ to yourself and the LGBTQ Community. In this New Day of politics, we are recognizing the benefits of throwing away the old establishment, and how that didn’t work.
‘Today, we are bringing back ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH,’ and protecting our 2nd amendment rights. That might be too much for some people, but that’s why we’re getting them out of Public Office. Let’s get back to ‘Making Arkansas Great Again.’ Vote Justin Jones for State Representative, District 87.’
However, his comments did not go down well with the Libertarian Party of Arkansas. Its chairman, Dr. Michael Pakko, called Jones’ Facebook postings ‘completely antithetical to the inclusive, tolerant position of the Libertarian Party.’
Yesterday, the The Benton County Libertarian Party issued a statement calling on Jones to ‘completely abandon’ his campaign.
Its chair, Michael J. Kalagias, effectively distanced the party from Jones, saying: ‘Mr. Jones was until very recently a Republican supporter and candidate. He came to the Libertarian Party, as have many others, because of his dissatisfaction with their failed policies and actions.
‘The bigotry he brought with him, however, is certainly not welcome and will not be tolerated by the Benton County Libertarian Party, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas, or the national Libertarian Party.’
Last night, Jones texted KARK to say: ‘Effective immediately I will be suspending my campaign for State Representative of District 87.’