September 28th, 2010
10:14 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Asst. AG Targets Gay Student

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360­°, you'll hear from Michigan's Assistant Attorney General who is raging an online war against an openly gay college student.

Andrew Shirvell is in charge of taking on serious criminals and upholding the law. But in his spare time, he's running a controversial blog called "Chris Armstrong Watch."

Chris Armstrong is the student body president at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. He's also openly gay. Shirvell targets Armstrong in his blog saying he has a 'radical homosexual agenda." The first posting has a photo of Armstrong with the word "resign" over his face, along with a swastika and rainbow flag.

Shirvell graduated from University of Michigan in 2002, where he was active in the pro-life community.

Shirvell's boss, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, released this statement:

"Mr. Shirvell's personal opinions are his and his alone and do not reflect the views of the Michigan Department of Attorney General. But his immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear."

Shirvell claims he’s exercising his First Amendment right of free speech. But critics say he’s gone too far and say his tactics amount to cyber-bullying.

Anderson talked with Shirvell just moments ago about his blog. Hear what he has to say for himself tonight on the program.

Also on our radar tonight, the home invasion case in Connecticut. Testimony has ended in the trial of Steven Hayes, who's accused of killing a mother and her two daughters in 2007. Closing arguments are slated for Friday. We'll talk about today's developments in court with Beth Karas, a correspondent for "In Session" on our sister network truTV. She was in court today. We'll also talk with CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Bill in Michigan

    Thank you Anderson for bringing this story to the national scene. AG Cox has promoted an anti-equality agenda in our state and I am not suprised that he is afraid to terminate Mr. Shervill's employment. This story actually had very little press in Michigan so there has not been much of a backlash. I'm hoping the national audience will respond and keep this bullying, bigot from collecting a paycheck from my tax dollars. Mr. Cox should be deeply embarassed and I am embarassed for my state. AG Cox should terminate Mr. Shervill's employment with the state immediately.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Andy

    Andrew Shirvell is an unbelievable idiot. Let's go on tv and publicly slander this young man. To view his blog is to look into the mind of a radical. I realize that tea partying has become all the rage, but it is amazing to me to see what they have freed with the lack of responsibility for what they say. Shirvell needs to be removed from his position.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  3. Tammy Corwin

    I live in Michigan I'm sad to say this type of behavior toward the gay community happens everyday & very often. I think this Mike Cox should be arrested for siber bulling & made to leave his city job! He sickens me! MI officals need to stand up (for once) to protect this kid. They are too busy trying to win their jobs back. Gov. Grandhome, do 1 good thing prior to leaving & protect this kid! Too bad but my state really is this way!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  4. Kris Gardner

    I agree with Jeff Tobain. The AG should certainly fire this guy. Andrew Chirvell is a dispicable person who must be deranged in his thinking, never mind his comments; sure he is entitled to his first amendment rights, but NOT while employed in a law enforcement job–are you kidding me!? The State of Michigan is standing for this....good grief.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  5. Julie

    Looks like the old boys network is alive and well, even in the Attorney Generals office. Shirvell is on the taxpayer dole and the office of the Attorney General should be upheld with dignity and tolerance. If Mr. Cox recognizes that Shirvell is immature and lacks judgment, how in the world is Shirvell trusted to do his job with maturity and judgment? Oh that's right, the old boys network protect their own.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  6. Rick

    It seems to me that there are many lawyers involved that have different views on what first admendment rights mean for different people. You have Toobin-lawyer.saying that this guy-lawyer,needs to be fired by his boss, attorney general of Michigan-lawyer, for saying the things he has on his blog against Sullivan. Sullivan has obtain a lawyer. By my count that is four lawyers talking about the first admendment. This has got to set precedent. My non-lawyer opinion leads me to believe that the Michigan attorney general and the lawyer who works for him, who is running this blog, are going to be sucessful.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  7. Kirstin

    It makes me feel ill when people use God as a crutch for cruelty. God is love, not hate. God loves you no matter what, weather you are white,black,gay or straight.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  8. Leah

    Thank you Anderson for reporting on this topic. This type of bigotry should not be tolerated, especially by a government official. I can only hope that Mr. Cox comes to his senses and fires Mr. Shirvell, who is clearly unstable. I applaud Mr. Armstrong for his courage and leadership. I hope this experience only makes him stronger.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  9. Sue

    Andrew Shirvell is the kind of person that you never want in a public servant position. He is truly a bigot. Not only does he deserve to be fired, but his boss Mike Cox deserves to be fired for allowing this type of behavior in a subordinate. This type of behavior destroys public trust and it cannot be tolerated from someone who is in a position of authority.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  10. CuriousM

    As a lifelong Christian Mr. Shirvell's actions are what leads me to be ashamed of my own faith sometimes. The bible teaches us tolerance and respect. It seems that lesson has been lost on too many Christians these days.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Ashlee Morris

    Andrew Shirvell is an idiot who gives all christians bad names a true christian wouldnt call sombody a gay nazi sombody give this man a bible maybe he is just to illiterate on what christianitys about also he states its apart of his rights to post and freely use his first admendment what about armstrongs admendments?

    September 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  12. Paul Nardone

    The spirit of our constitutional right to "freedom of speech" was never intended to be a license to harass another human being. Sometimes we are most intolerant of what we actually see in ourselves. Me thinks the Asst. Attorney General has a little crush!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  13. Desta Gebregiorgis

    Three things.

    1. I want to know how Armstrong is a racist, elitist, and a liar. Basically, the assistant AG hasn't explained why he is calling Armstrong these names. ( i.e. like he hasn't given the race(s) he is fighting against).

    2. The assistant AG needs to stop saying this isn't about Armstrong's sexuality and that this attack isn't personal. He made it personal when he put a gay flag with a swastika on his picture. I understand it's your alumni, but let it go sir, your don't go there anymore and it's not your decision.

    3. Cyber-bullying really should be a crime in the state of michigan so people like Armstrong can fight against the ignorant, bigots like our assistant AG. This story really bothered me and left me uneasy. It's a shame that this man can make these allegations and still be in office (he is a public official and needs to learn how to watch his mouth, in and out of work).

    That is all 🙂

    September 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm |
  14. Jon Marth

    What is wrong with the state of Michigan? Wasn't this the state that Timothy McVie and of course the Michigan Militia crawled from? How can it have such a great institution of higher learning like the University of Michigan and have a population full of "loons" like the Asst. AG. The AG and people of Michigan should ensure that discriminating practices will not be tolerated. This guy who loosely uses swastikas to express his feelings and is a public servant needs to be terminated immediately.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  15. Lisa O'Reilly

    As an Irish person and an European, to me this man's blog ammounts to incitement to hatred, offensive writing and in Germany, his picture of a swastika superimposed on a gay flag would not only be offensive to the LGBT community, but be seen as an illegal act and arrestable due to laws passed after WWII and Nazi hatred. (In fact, Mr. Shirvell runs the risk of being charged if this blog is read by a number of Germans who report it to authorities!). But Mr. Shirvell must know this and does it to incite – but hides behind 'freedom of speech'. In Ireland, this would be slander and libel and Mr. Armstrong would have a case. Maybe he should sue there as this blog is available to the average Irish/English reader... go for it!

    And my gaydar was at work watching him be interviewed by Anderson – hmmm, why the deep fear and hatred? I am a christian and his use of scripture to justify his anger, hate, vitrol and lies is one of the most offensive things about this. ?

    How does Freedom of Speech allow a person to pass on their hatred and fear? Wasn't it supposed to be a sign of democracy at work? Then Mr. Shirvell needs to let Mr. Armstrong alone to live and work his life unlibled and un-slandered.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  16. Richard

    Assistant AG Shirvell has bad judgement for his attacks on Chris Armstrong BUT he has every right to do anything legal in his off time. There are 24 hours in a day and you are only committed to your job for 8 hours. When you walk out of work it is now YOUR time. You are not a slave to your employer or your pay check.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  17. Star

    I wonder if this Mr. Andrew Stivell had any relations with Mr. Armstrong. Andrew seems to be gay himself and I don't understand why Mke Cox wont do anything about this. At least ask the reason why he is doing this. This seems to be interfering with Andrew's job as the Attorney General.

    I'm sure if we had a female public official that stripps on her off hours it would be a problem.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  18. John currier

    How can a public official keep his job being such a self serving bigot. In this day and time are there not more important issues to peruse. This guy needs to get a life, and be fired from his position. How could he represent a gay person without bias. Why go to Michigan where the attorney general steps to the side line and let's an employee ruin his reputation.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  19. Trevor Riggs

    I am a 16 year old conservative christian, and I was disgusted with Shirvell when he claimed to have the same political and religous views as me. I do not believe in pursuing a campain based on hatred and twisted views. While I do, by religion, believe that homosexuality is a sin, I have yet to see any evidence of Chris Armstrong being the sadistic racist that Shirvell claims he is.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  20. D Bunda

    While I am intrigued by the story, I am slightly bemused by the irony. I am getting tired of people demanding someone be fired from their job because they themselves are intolerant of the opposing view. Let the guys own words and actions sink him in the court of public opinion. If he breaks a law, that is one thing,. If he hasn't, just report on it and smirk at the end to show your disdain. Good questioning of the guy, but in the end he seems to just be in the position of any other protester with an extreme view. When we stop people from doing that, we have lost, no matter how "odd" it seems. Would you prevent him from protesting war? How do you draw a line? You don't. You work at the next election to oust him. Or you protest him back the same way. Liberty is clearly defined. Best news show on TV. Keep it up.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
  21. ADNJ

    I must admit I've seen a lot in my 44 years here on Earth but this takes the cake! I am a Christian also but this person's behavior is absolutely not representative of a true Christian. There are so many bible verses that would go against what Shirvell is doing that there isn't enough space for me to quote them. I believe this is a very disturbed individual and he should be terminated immediately.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  22. Curchel Smoot

    This is the craziest story I have ever heard. Why isn't that AAG fired already??? He can say he's against Armstrong or state that he is against gay leaders but he is taking this thing too far!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  23. Susan

    I am deeply disturbed by this story. This is an example of cyber bullying and an internet hate crime. He should be fired as a public official, criminal charges should be filed, and Michigan needs cyber bullying laws immediately!He is only attacking him because he is gay. It just isn't right!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
  24. Jeanne

    The University of Michigan I went to is a champion of diversity. For Andrew Shirvill to acknowledge his actions against this gay college student and mention the University in the same breath is disgusting to me. I hope the Attorney General of Michigan has the guts to do the right thing and fire Shirvill. Otherwise, the people of Michigan and the University of Michigan students, faculty, supporters should demand his firing.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  25. Cindy

    I am A christian woman, so I understand the belief system... however Shrivell and people like him give christianity a bad name. God wants people to be brought into the faith not run away from it kicking and screaming. In watching his interview with Anderson and observing his body language and facial expressions... he seems to be a little... mentally unstable. You can't be an arc for the people but choose which people you let on board, christianity doesn't work that way.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  26. brian liston

    I just watched the interview with Shirvell. He honestly looks like he needs evaluated by a suitable doctor. It is sad someone like him has ANY influence in todays society. If you're going to do an interview, SPEAK you spineless idiot!! He just dodged the questions, and looked deformed. Sorry, he just really pissed me off. Who the hell are you to sit in judgement of anyone?? You do NOT deserve your job, nor much else!!!! We actually were sitting here thinking YOU were gay, so did you have a crush????

    September 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  27. Eryn

    People like Andrew Shirvel are only to be pitied. He is so blinded by what he believes to be right,that he can't even begin to see what he actually is: an ignorant bigot and completely obsessed cyber-bully

    September 28, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
  28. jax

    This is absolutely ridiculous! Does this Asst.DA not have enough work to do or cases to prepare for? He's the one pushing a radical agenda- protesting outside of the students house? Drawing signs and flags on his face on the blog like a 3rd grader? The DA at the very least should point out to this guy that he's bringing negative attention to the office and his aggressive efforts towards dethroning this college student is counterproductive.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  29. Octopus

    This is the most bizarre story that I've heard in awhile and I was cheering AC on as he tore into this guy. I'm all for free speech but what on earth?! He's a 40-ish year old Asst. AG and he's stalking a 21 year old college student. Who cares if he's gay? I believe we'll be hearing from this Andrew S. guy in a few years when he himself comes out...hard conservatives that are so strongly against homosexuality usually have something to hide.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  30. LA

    Just heard the interview and I'm even MORE upset with the juvenile rants and justifications from a supposed adult. How embarassing for the state of Michigan that they would allow someone in his position to remain there!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  31. Fred

    Shirvell may scream all week for all I care but the fact remains that he has no defense. What should be an open and shut case of bigotry – and to any mature 3rd party it clearly is – is allowed to play out on no clear ground, legal or moral. An utter disgrace to the taxpayers of Michigan. Pick on someone your own 'size' shrivel!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  32. Patty Graves

    Why is Mr. Shirvell apparently threatened by Mr. Armstrong?

    September 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  33. john martin

    WOW........Anderson, you are unbelievably professional by choosing NOT to say what you are thinking, which has to be "what is this whack job talking about?" Scary people like Shirvell, with DSM diagnoses combined with power, hiding his own sexual issues behind religion fully explains the election of some of the fringe politicians recently seen in the news....and on Fox News......tell me how Shirvell is any different than say Hannity or Beck? scary times. thanks for the rational view!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  34. Carrie

    I'm embarrassed to be a Michigan resident. I can't believe my taxes pay his salary. I would prefer to set my money on fire before paying him.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  35. natasha

    Personally, I think the guy is gay himself, and is internalizing self-hatred and projecting his anger onto someone else. There is a term we, as social scientists, use called internalized oppression! Wow, this guy is looney tunes!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  36. Phala Bradford

    Anderson, You did a great job of interviewing this obviously disturbed man.
    I agree with Jeffery Toubin, the real question is "why hasn't the AG fired him.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  37. tim

    this Assistant Attorney General should be fired!!! Who does he think he is? Just another bigot....

    September 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  38. Sandra Berry

    Condsidering Shrivells behavior with this 21 one year old student, my question is doesn't that make you stop and wonder how he performs his job?? Maybe not so unbiased?

    September 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  39. Shari Middleton

    This story is unbelievable. The AG needs to be fired. I can't imagine him working in the capacity of an AG anyway. He looks and sounds like an idiot. You know the saying...if it walks like a duck...

    September 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  40. matt

    This Assistant Attorney general is OBVIOUSLY stalking and bullying this college kid! His hate speech and the pictures indicate to me that this man is sick and has an unusual obsession with this Kid.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  41. rob

    I personally believe that freedom of speech does not cover harassing and bullying another person. I believe that that individual has crossed the line and he comes across as being bigoted and truly on the verge of stupid. It would seem to me that he should loose his job and loose his ability to be a lawyer.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  42. Sean

    What an ignorant fool. I can not fathom that this man became Assistant. D.A. He is an embarrassment to the State and should be fired immediately. Not doing so speaks volumes about the D.A.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  43. LA

    This is SO sad and sickening! I hope Chris Armstrong knows that this 60 year old woman from Oklahoma supports him and abhors the conduct of the "gentleman" (term used extremely loosely) who has harrassed and reviled him. Congratulations to the students at the Univ. of Michigan who accepted him and acknowledged his leadership abilities without regard to anything else! The rest of us salute you.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  44. Clayton

    Shirvell, you fool! Please don't call yourself a Christian and then proceed with the slanderous and ridicules remarks that you are making about Armstrong! Thanks again for giving real Christians a bad name. You should probably worry about the plank in your own eye! Jeez

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  45. Kasinder

    Cox is actually more insane than Shirvell. How can Cox allow Shirvell to keep his job???? They must both be bigots. Just watched Mr. Cooper's story and these two are sick.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  46. EL

    Thia man sounded inbalance. He should be fired immediately. Thank you Mr Toubin for putting this in perspective.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  47. Nativegrl77

    Is this the kind of people we want in positions of power? sounds like harassment to me and somewhat creepy along with a splash of illegal but then that's just me.I think people need to protest at his office maybe a couple days a week ...people who are Public Servants are suppose to serve the people ...not pick and choose who they want to serve... this guy is offensive

    September 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  48. Eric Johnson

    Because you may not agree with the students behaviors, does not give you the right to stalk, harrass, or deface the person's character. I believe that Mr. Shrivell is bored with his own life so he thinks he has to meddle in someone elses life.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  49. Mike

    As a Michigan resident, this Assistant Attorney General's conduct is outrageous. I couldn't believe what I was watching. I hope there is someway for Michigan to be drop this hateful man from its payroll.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  50. Curchel Smoot

    This is the craziest story I have ever heard. Why isn't that ADA fired already??? He can say he's against Armstrong or state that he is against gay leaders but he is taking this thing too far!

    September 28, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
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