Americas

Jamaicans quickly reject anti-gay Olympic slur

Omar McLeod, Olympic gold medalist

Omar McLeod, Olympic gold medalist (Photo courtesy of the Jamaica Gleaner)

Jamaica Gleaner's invitation to suggest a caption for Omar McLeod's photo, followed by the offensive Lasco tweet.

Jamaica Gleaner’s invitation to suggest a caption for Omar McLeod’s photo, followed by the offensive Lasco tweet.

Even an Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica isn’t spared from being insulted by a homophobic fellow countryman, but Jamaican culture has evolved to the point where such hostility now has stern consequences.

Omar McLeod, who won the men’s 110-meter hurdles on Aug. 16,  was called a “goldfish” in a tweet from a major Jamaican company. “Fish” — a derogatory term for a gay man — was applied to McLeod even though his sexual orientation is unknown.

lasco

In response to its employee's homophobic tweet, Lasco issued this apology not only to Omar McLeod but also to "our fans, friends, customers, consumers, partners, Jamaicans and everyone."

In response to its employee’s homophobic tweet, Lasco issued this apology not only to Omar McLeod but also to “our fans, friends, customers, consumers, partners, Jamaicans and everyone.”

An employee of Lasco Affiliated Companies used the company’s Twitter account to propose the label “goldfish” for McLeod in response to the Jamaica Gleaner’s request for readers’ suggestions for a caption under McLeod’s photo on the newspaper’s front page.

Lasco is a Jamaican holding company involved in a Jamaican holding company with operations in food products and financial services.

At first, Lasco said its Twitter account had been hacked, but then it acknowledged that the post had been made by an employee and, as a result, that he had been fired. The company apologized to McLeod and to Jamaicans, saying that the post did not represent its values.

In further response to the tweet, Portia Simpson-Miller, former prime minister and current opposition leader, issued her own tweet condemning homophobia.

This tweet from Portia Simpson-Miller rejected the Lasco employee's homophobic tweet.

This tweet from Portia Simpson-Miller rejected the Lasco employee’s homophobic tweet.

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4 thoughts on “Jamaicans quickly reject anti-gay Olympic slur

  1. First of all there is no such thing as homophobia. This simply a word up by gays to somehow say real men and women and supporters have some negative feeling towards them. Heteralphobic gays and this means all want the approval of the human race and want to be equal with us. You are a disgrace to humanity. Now I don’t know if this guy is gay or not but if he is , then no harm no foul. You call a spade a spadesnd a faggot a faggot. Point blank simple! Since Obama has went around promoting homosexuality, everytime faggot or bulldagger is called what they are some one gets mad.And that’s crazy cause they said Tiger Woods had something mentally wrong with him for fucking women. I guess they would have said anything if he was fucking a men. It’s ok for a man to fuck men but you better not fuck women then you’re mentally ill. AIN’T THAT SOME SHIT, Y’ALL GAY AND CRAZY AS FUCK,Y’ALL MENTALLY FUCKING ILL. If a man were to go play in a septic tank or raw sewage ,everyone would be saying how nasty that is, how unsanitary and disease ridden, but a man fucking another in the ads is socially accepted. These nasty men are working in restaurants, handling our kids,are nurses and doctors. This is totally crazy Obama is gay and whoever supports homosexuality is and doomed to eternal torment and rightfully so.

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  2. This is a very agenda-driven, misleading and poorly constructed title/article. Clearly, not much thought has been put into it. I don’t believe it has anything to do with Jamaicans evolving, or the country evolving on a whole. While LASCO is a Jamaican company, LASCO is also aware that it operates in a global space. Further, because LASCO is a reputable and exemplary organization, I firmly believe that if this unfortunate situation had happened 5 or 6 years ago, LASCO would have done the same. In fact, most reputable Jamaican companies would have done the same if it were 10 years ago and the victim was a famous Jamaican who is doing “good” for the country.

    There are a few reasons why I believe it has nothing to do with Jamaicans/Jamaica evolving in their views on homosexuality:

    1. Jamaicans love their athletes. Rich and popular Jamaicans, who are alleged to be gay, tend to experience less homophobia. It’s a very complex social situation on the island. Omar McLeod is no exception, especially since he has won gold for Jamaica. Imagine trying to choose between two things.

    2. LASCO is a big company that has international partners. LASCO is fully cognizant of the potentially devastating impact complicity, or failure to act, with the homophobic tweet could have. LASCO doesn’t want to have to contend with international and or local LGBT lobby groups; so they acted swiftly to stop any ramifications. We are talking about a high profile case here. We can infer that there must be at least a tad of homophobia in the organization since the person responsible for marketing and social media saw it fit to post such disgusting tweet.

    I could write a number of other reasons why I think this article is flawed on all accounts, but I will end by saying that people must think before they speak or write.

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  3. I am Brazilian, never been to Jamaica. But when I hear the word Jamaica has in mind something connected to paradise, the beautiful nature, reaggae music, the joy, the sun finally .. but at the same time something that clashes with it as homophobia. I think what’s worse in this country is prejudice with LGBT’s. Jamaica can not go on, exercise love and not hate. Tolerance and Peace!

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