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Aussie commentator slams Key over gay quip

Thursday 8 Nov 2012 4:33 p.m.

Prime Minister John Key

Prime Minister John Key

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High-profile Australian television journalist and social commentator Tracy Spicer has urged social media users to tell Prime Minister John Key his "gay red top" comment is not OK.

"John Key would never have contemplated saying, `It's because of that hori* top you're wearing'. He used the word gay because he thought he'd get away with it," she wrote in her column, titled The Hobbit of Homophobia, for social issue website The Hoopla.

At the bottom of the post she explained "hori" was a derogatory term for Maori.

Mr Key has since said he was just giving The Farming Show radio host Jamie Mackay a hard time when he mentioned his "gay red top", and told media that it was "just a slang term" which meant "weird" which he had learned from his children.

"Young people use it all the time. I don't think many people would be offended by it but if anyone is, I apologise," he said earlier this week.

Spicer said Mr Key's remark "is not just politically incorrect. It is semantically incorrect. And morally incorrect. Being gay is not bad, dumb, or stupid".

"So, we should use all the words at our disposal to tell John Key its not OK on Facebook, Twitter and blogs."

Spicer recently made headlines worldwide with her column Dear Mr Sexist in which she slammed television as a shallow, prejudiced medium which focused on a woman's physical appearance and not her professional skills.

The "gay" quip was made the same day Mr Key reportedly told students at St Hilda's Collegiate in Dunedin that Beckham was a nice guy but "thick as bats***" - a comment that attracted the attention of British press.

Mr Key said on Wednesday the reported comment "may or may not be correct", but he refused to say what his own version was.

British actor Sir Ian McKellen also slammed the prime minister over his "gay" quip, saying he should "watch his language".

Sir Ian, who plays Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, is an outspoken gay rights activist.


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