Dan Savage bullies in his spare time

This past Saturday Creative Arts Emmys honored Dan Savage, star of MTV’s “Savage U,” for his anti-bullying project known as “It Gets Better.” Various celebrities created short videos, encouraging bullied youth, particularly gay youth, to not give up and to seek support and reassurance. Savage also writes a sex advice column, “Savage Love” and makes appearances on college campuses, including ASU in April.

Support for “It Gets Better” includes public figures, such as President Barack Obama to Woody the Cowboy. I support any movement that is against bullying, but there’s only one problem with the project: Savage is one of the world's biggest bullies.

Savage has a long and vitriolic history of employing deplorable tactics to demean and harm those with whom he disagrees.  His repugnant behavior first took the spotlight in a piece he wrote for Salon.com, where he detailed his disdain for former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.

Bauer was anti-gay, but in a verbal non-violent way. Savage was sick with the flu, but joined Bauer’s campaign to, in his own boastful words, to subject acts of “terrorism” on Bauer and those working for him.

Savage spread his flu by licking and coughing on doorknobs, staplers, phones, keyboards and other utensils. He even handed a pen to Bauer himself that he had been keeping in his mouth. Surprisingly, that is not the most famous example of his bullying.

When Rick Santorum made anti-gay comments, Savage Google-bombed him by manipulating search engine algorithms to produce a neologism, in which the name “Santorum” would be publicly and vulgarly redefined. The definition of which is not printable in this paper.

This is cyber-bullying last time I checked.

When a closeted man wrote Savage a letter asking for advice, Savage berated him for being hesitant and ridiculed his timid nature, throwing vulgarities and telling him to “rot in the closet.” It’s a disgrace that this man is given any standing in the world of journalism.

Last April, he spoke at the National High School Journalist Conference in Seattle. He was there to talk about journalism, but instead he went off on a bigoted tangent and attacked Christianity.  It went on long enough before 100 students got up and walked out.

None of them heckled him, yet he ridiculed them as “pansy-(expletive).”

Savage does not tolerate dissent, especially political dissent. When a group of gay republicans known as GOProud publicly endorsed Mitt Romney, he called them “House F******.” He said this after he declared on “Real Time with Bill Maher” that he wished all Republicans were dead.

The “It Gets Better” anti-bullying project is undercut by the depraved and hypocritical bullying of its founder. Anti-bullying sermons from Dan Savage are like abstinence lectures from a serial rapist. That is not an extreme comparison when you consider that he has publicly fantasized about raping Santorum.

It is amazing the types of people the media lionizes these days and what people can get away with if they are properly cloaked in a self-righteous cause. While Savages’ supporters are working for a just cause — anti-bulling — they are guilty of the same self-satisfaction.  Cloaked in a similar self-righteousness, they refuse to see the bigoted irony behind the man who claims to advocate for gay youths.

I do console myself, believing that the rising generation will be wiser than the last.

Only when Savages’ double standards on bullying end will things get truly “better.”


Reach the columnist at colton.gavin@asu.edu or follow the columnist at @coltongavin


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