As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker began cursing, attacked the Bible and reportedly called those who efused [sic] to listen to his rant “pansy asses.”
The speaker was Dan Savage, founder of the “It Gets Better” project, an anti-bullying campaign that has reached more than 40 million viewers with contributors ranging from President Obama to Hollywood stars. Savage also writes a sex advice column called “Savage Love.”
Savage was supposed to be delivering a speech about anti-bullying at the National High School Journalism Conference sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. But it turned into an episode of Christian-bashing.
According to one of the teachers in the audience, the speech was also replete with obscenities and “sexual innuendo not appropriate for this age group.” As expected, a number of students and teachers complained, prompting the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association to release a joint statement. Here's an excerpt.
“We appreciate the level of thoughtfulness and deliberation regarding Dan Savage’s keynote address,” the NSPA wrote. “some audience members who felt hurt by his words and tone decided to leave in the middle of his speech, and to this, we want to make our point very clear: While as a journalist it’s important to be able to listen to speech that offends you, these students and advisers had simply reached their tolerance level for what they were willing to hear.”
Pathetic. As of this writing, no one from the NSPA or any other organization affiliated with the conference has issued a formal apology.