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.
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.
- Lasco fires employee who made controversial tweet about Omar McLeod (Aug. 17, 2016, Jamaica Gleaner)
- Lasco apologises, fires employee after offensive tweet about Omar McLeod (Aug. 17, 2016, LoopJamaica)