I’m sure this clip is more than a tad familiar to you:
It’s been playing everywhere 24/7
But it took the testy queens at Gawker to as the all-important question “Were Michael Grimm’s Threats Against a Gay Reporter Homophobic?”
And the answer is “Can I get a ‘Well, DUH!’”
It is well known among people who know and work with him that Scotto is gay. “Within the station community it’s pretty well known,” one colleague told Gawker. The 35-year-old political reporter didn’t ask Grimm about anything pertaining to sexuality, so it’s unclear, based only on the video, why Grimm issued a series of insults aimed at questioning Scotto’s masculinity—a common weapon of homophobes seeking to torment and marginalize gay men.
And the point here was to torment Scotto. “You’re not man enough,” Grimm seethes. “You’re not man enough.” And embarrass him, too. You can’t see it in the video, but his colleagues and other reporters were watching the entire thing from a few feet away.
We don’t know whether Grimm was aware of Scotto’s sexuality, and his office didn’t acknowledge our repeated attempts to contact the congressman. The men know each well enough, though. “He and Congressman Grimm have worked together professionally for a while,” NY1’s Washington bureau chief Jennifer Babich told Gawker. “But this is the first time [Grimm has] said anything like this.” (Babich added that the men “have had several interviews” together.) At the very least, they were known quantities to each other.
People close to Scotto weren’t as sure, though. “It looked to me like old-school assholedom that had nothing to do with Michael being gay,” argued a friend of his. “I’d be surprised if Grimm knew.” Babich, his supervisor, added: “I don’t think that was a factor in the confrontation.” Other reporters who know Scotto, all of whom asked not to be identified, shared a similar sentiment.
Yet it remains undeniably true that Grimm abased Scotto in a manner that’s especially toxic toward gay men. It’s also true that, as a career reporter, Scotto has a professional interest in staying out of the story—and staying in the good graces of politicians such as Grimm, on whom NY1 depends for interviews. Everyone involved has an interest in moving on.
They shouldn’t. Grimm’s rushed apology glossed over the very real words that Grimm deployed to keep people like Scotto in their place. If a 35-year-old gay reporter ensconced in the chambers of Congress remains vulnerable to this grade of verbal abuse, this degree of humiliation, then where, exactly, is he safe?
Rep. Michael Grimm didn’t know whom he was dealing with on Tuesday when he threatened to throw NY1 reporter Michael Scotto off the US Capitol balcony and “break you in half. Like a boy.”
The journalist is related to Anthony Scotto, former head of the Brooklyn longshoremen’s union and a former boss in the Gambino crime family.
Well isn’t that special?
As every gay new Yorker of my generation knows the Gambino’s ran the bars in back in the day — selling watered drinks and paying off the cops to keep from being raided. For it was illegal for “sexual deviants” to congregate in public, and for anyone to cater to them/us. The Gambino’s found this set-up was most advantageous for them in other ways. For they could put their “embarrassing” gay family members jobs running these bars. It all seemed to work pretty well. Then the night of Judy’s funeral an exceedingly louche Gambino-backed establishment called The Stonewall Inn was raided, the customers fought back and the gay rights movement went into high gear.
“Grimm’s outlook may be grim,” laughed one Brooklynite. “Is he nuts, or what?”
Is Page 6 suggesting that because of Scotto’s uncle Grimm should take precautions when he next gets into his car?
New York Rep. Michael Grimm was already facing a tough reelection. His post-State of the Union blowup could make it even tougher.
A moderate Republican who represents a swing Staten Island district, Grimm has been atop Democratic target lists for months. National Democratic strategists have been talking up the idea of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to unseat the second-term congressman. They want to hit the airwaves with TV ads casting him as a tea party figure who’s too conservative for his district.
Grimm’s altercation with a reporter who asked the congressman about a federal investigation of his campaign finances instantly went viral – footage played in an endless loop on cable TV and garnered hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube.
Ah yes. YouTube‘ll get ya if you don’t watch out.
Some Republicans worried that the memorable images would provide Democrats with more fodder for attacks this fall.
“It’s going to have an impact on the race…He’s been very angry and very aggressive. It’s the State of the Union. It’s a solemn event,” said Leticia Remauro, a former Staten Island Republican Party chairwoman. “People are going to ask, ‘What’s going on here?’”
Domenic Recchia, a New York City Councilman and Grimm’s Democratic opponent, wasted no time seizing on the incident. In a fundraising appeal to supporters Wednesday afternoon, he wrote: “We shouldn’t have a Congressman who resorts to bullying, threats and even more extreme tactics to get what he wants. … It’s time for Michael Grimm to go. He continues to be an embarrassment to his district and to his constituents.”
True. Don’t the Republicans have enough bullies as it is?
Not everyone agrees that the incident will seriously undermine the congressman’s reelection bid. Coming nearly nine months ahead of the election, they argue, few voters will remember it by the time they head to the polls. And some Republicans say Grimm’s tough-guy image could be an asset in a New York City district where voters are more likely to reward brashness.
“I don’t think [voters] would take a lot of umbrage over him roughing it up with a reporter a little bit,” said David Catalfamo, a former top aide to onetime GOP Gov. George Pataki.
It’s not the first time Grimm’s personal behavior has come under the microscope. The congressman has been dogged by an investigation into fundraising practices he employed during his 2010 campaign, with officials looking into whether he evaded donor limits. And in 2011, The New Yorker published an article reporting that Grimm had been investigated internally at the FBI over whether he used excessive force during an undercover operation.
Despite those bruises, Grimm managed to easily win reelection in 2012. Overcoming the moderate tilt of his district – which President Barack Obama carried that year – the congressman received 52 percent of the vote, prevailing over a relatively weak Democratic opponent. In his first race for the seat two years earlier, Grimm, boosted by endorsements from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, won a hard-fought Republican primary and then notched a narrow win over then-Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon.
Grimm began his reelection race as the favorite. Some handicappers see Recchia as a flawed opponent because he hails from Brooklyn and the district is centered on Staten Island. Plus, without Obama running at the top of the ticket in 2014, there’s a possibility that fewer Democratic voters will turnout.
On Wednesday morning, Grimm issued an apology to the reporter and announced that he’d be going out to lunch with him next week. But some Republicans called Grimm’s dust-up an unforced, made-for-the-tabloids mistake that’s likely to come up repeatedly as the election year unfolds.
“It doesn’t help,” said O’Brien Murray, a Republican strategist in New York City. “The question is how much it hurts him.”
What I’d like to know is Dylan classic?