By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What did Dan Savage say about Scott Brown?

Republican political consultant Eric Fehrnstrom, whose clients include U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, issued a challenge to Media Nation on Twitter earlier today: “You should research some of the vile things that video maker Dan Savage has said about Scott Brown and other public figtures.”

Fehrnstrom was responding to my post asking why Brown didn’t take part in the “It Gets Better” video put together by the Massachusetts congressional delegation. Savage, a gay journalist and sex-advice columnist, is the originator of and driving force behind the “It Gets Better” campaign.

So, Media Nation readers, what of it? I am well aware of what Savage has said about former senator Rick Santorum. But to my mind, that doesn’t count, since Santorum had already said what Savage and his husband do in bed is just slightly more acceptable than “man on dog” sex or pedophilia. Nothing, no matter how vile, can top that.

I did a little idle Googling around and couldn’t really come up with anything Savage has ever said about Brown. But yes, I could have missed something. Please let me know in the comments.

Update: We have a winner! Check the comments.

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Why did Scott Brown sit out “It Gets Better” video?


The Chinese bureau checks in


  1. Here you go

    He pointed to Savage’s February 2010 column in which he joked about shoving a “Coke bottle, Oscar statuette, [or] Scott Brown action figure” up “someone’s ass and/or twat.”

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Here you go: Oops. I realize I just approved a comment from someone not using a real name. I’ll make an exception since all you have done is pass on information and a link. Good catch. I had not seen that.

  2. Michael Pahre

    Huffington Post has more on this, but without quoting the words Savage used in allegedly savaging Brown:

    Senator Brown believes all people regardless of sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect. He has been a leader in fighting for anti-bullying legislation at the state and federal level. His main focus is creating jobs and getting the economy moving again. In this case, the individual behind the video has made vile and sexually crude comments about Senator Brown. It’s reprehensible for Senator Brown’s opponents to associate with this person in order to score cheap political points,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a political adviser to Brown. [boldface added]

  3. Mike Benedict

    “Treated with dignity and respect” is hardly the same as “they have rights.”

    Our spineless senator strikes again. Brown is a good color for him — it represents his utter dullness of intelligence, thought and creativity.

  4. Mike Rice

    If I were Senator Brown, I wouldn’t give Dan Savage the time of day.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Mike Rice: You have to consider whom Brown is hurting. Dan Savage? No. Gay and lesbian teens? His relationship with his congressional colleagues? Himself? Yes, yes and yes.

  5. Carly Rose

    The whole “It gets better” campaign is supposed to reach out to LBGT teens and help them ignore abusive language and treatment from their peers, correct? Does Dan Savage mean to tell them it gets better because you can publicly insult people back?

    Way to rise above the hatred.

  6. C.E. Stead

    DK – be honest. Would YOU trust a Dan Savage to properly use video he had of you? Or could you look forward to photoshopped ‘outtakes’ and ‘blooper reels’, with no way of defending yourself?

    Would you expect Sen. Kerry to participate in a PSA being filmed by Glenn Beck?

  7. Tom (the Elitist Barber) Wilson

    Brown doesn’t give his constituents the time of day. If I’m correct, he’s never held a Town Hall meeting but he has given the mega-billionaire Koch Brothers the time of day.

  8. Mike Rice

    With respect to anti-bullying, Dan Savage should lead by example.

  9. Mike Benedict

    Way to make Dav Savage the issue. Once again, Sen. Flim-flam is being let off the hook of having to actually, you know, represent his constituents, as a chorus of kneejerk defenders takes up the GOP talking points.

  10. C.E. Stead: I think you are misunderstanding how these It Gets Better videos are made. You don’t go to ItGetsBetterStudios, film footage and they produce a finished product (and keep the rough footage. etc.) People make their own videos (or get someone to produce them.) upload them to youtube under their own Google account. The submitters still own the copyright of the finished project. (Although I have to admit copyright may be shaky here, as fair use for political satire may allow someone to grab a large part of the video.)

    I’m not sure if I really think the “action figure” comment on its own would have been a reason to snub Savage. After all, he was talking about the list of things that people shouldn’t (or at least is surprising that they would) insert into body orifices. (Maybe Savage keeps his own Scott Brown action figure, still it its original box, on his living room mantle. Or tucked away in the top drawer of Ann Landers’ desk. )

    I’m a bit of two minds on Dan Savage’s pranks. Becoming Republican precinct ward and the causing a mess at the regional convention I thought was a smart idea. The party platform isn’t going to change until someone proposes it, and if everyone interested in change runs away from the party then it will never happen. The licking Gary Bauer’s doorknobs in order to give him and his staffers the flu was immature and mean.

    The spat with Rick Santorum I put somewhere in the middle: at times it seems mean spirited, but I see the reason behind it. When someone like Santorum puts the image of bestiality and pedophilia right in a discussion of homosexuality, he is combining in someone’s mind a repugnant idea with one that should be benign. (just to make sure we’re clear. I’m calling bestiality and pedophilia the repugnant images. Homosexuality the benign one.) Trying to combine a repugnant image with the name Santorum is very similar act, and doing so draws attention to the issue.

    Its a shame there isn’t good search for podcast contents. You might find more Scott Brown comments in Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” podcast. (he usually does 5-10 minutes of social and political commentary before the call-in advice program.)

    • Dan Kennedy

      If you’re really interested in splitting hairs, Savage did not make a vile comment about Brown. He made an extremely crude sexual comment and threw in a reference to Brown without really saying anything about him, good, bad or indifferent. I’ll concede that that may have been enough for Brown to bow out of “It Gets Better.” But he tossed aside a chance to rise above and do something cool that would have helped gay and lesbian teenagers, improved his relationship with his congressional colleagues and confounded his Democratic opponents.

  11. C.E. Stead

    @Andrew – thank you for the info, but I wouldn’t assume that Sen. Brown or his staff knew that. None of us know the context of the invite, and Savage’s name may have generated a big ‘uh-huh’ without much invetigation. It’s not clear that Brown even knew what the finished product would be, i.e., a PSA from the delegation.

    I WILL say, based on informal chat with some staffers, that Brown has gotten a variety of sexually charged communications, from right and left; some over his DADT vote, some over abuse, some over just being a Republican. And while Dan’s source provided that particular comment, there’s nothing to suggest that there aren’t many more that Brown’s office would be aware of – Dan’s Google didn’t turn up the HuffPo one cited, for instance.

    Remind me to take over a convention of Democrats just to screw it up – I’ve been to too many Republican ones for there to be any novelty. Then I can call it a ‘smart idea’. Oh, and Delahunt didn’t hold a town hall in the ten-plus years he represented me – Brown has 9 years to go before I can complain.

  12. Ben Rivard-Rapoza

    Dan, I think Savage’s comment was clearly meant as a degrading insult. Unfortunately, Savage would rather believe that “No GOP elected can back the seemingly radical notion that LGBT kids shouldn’t kill themselves…” than to treat Republicans in a civil and respectful manner.

  13. Brad Deltan

    Is it just me, or is this merely one more example of how Brown is “inexperienced” in being an effective politician? For a goddamn United States Senator to be THAT thin-skinned that he’d pass on a chance to show that he’s responsive to his electorate and also that not all Republicans are neanderthalic thugs…and he passes because Dan Savage once made a mildly detracting comment that wasn’t even really about him? Christ, SAVAGE IS IN THE MEDIA, it’s his JOB to attack politicians. Get over yourself and recognize that the job is bigger than YOU are, Scott!

    Y’know, we denounce “career politicians” all the time, but recently we, as an electorate, have gotten a cold, hard dose of reality: when you elect a bunch of people who have no idea how to govern, what you get is this nonsense. And the debt-ceiling nonsense. And the birther nonsense. And on, and on, and on…

  14. Peter Sullivan


    It’s just you!!!!

    Not wanting to participate in a project spearheaded by a syndicated sex columnist from an alt weekly publication and featuring only Democrats is a choice, not a thin skinned snub or anything else.

    This is just a cheap political attack from the left wingers And I am embarrased that that Dan and left wing nation have given it so much play.

    • Dan Kennedy

      “And I am embarrased that that Dan and left wing nation have given it so much play.”

      @Peter: No, you’re not. Why would you say something that is so patently untrue?

  15. Mike Benedict

    @Brad: +1

  16. Steve Turner

    Just seems to me that this video is being used as the left’s equivalent of the right’s no-new-tax pledges. I think any politician is right to ignore this kind of litmus test.

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