September 29th, 2010
09:49 PM ET

Evening Buzz: The Boss of Mich. Asst. AG Talks to 360°

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

We're continuing to keep them honest in Michigan where the Assistant Attorney General is under fire for a blog he has written that takes aim at the gay student body president at the University of Michigan.

Some say the Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell is obsessed with Chris Armstrong. The first posting on Shirvell's blog called "Chris Armstrong Watch" has a photo of Armstrong with the word "resign" over his face, along with a swastika and rainbow flag.

Last night on 360°, Shirvell defended his actions saying he does it during off-hours away from work and he says he's protected under the First Amendment. But today, many people are calling for him to be fired. There's one person who can make that decision, his boss, Attorney General Mike Cox. You'll hear from Cox tonight on the program.

And, up close tonight, actor Michael J. Fox on his fight against Parkinson's disease. He devotes much of his time to the charity he created to find a cure. He sat down with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta to talk about his life today and why he believes a cure will be found.

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

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Cammie

    If Andrew Shirvell was protesting against a Jewish, Muslim, Latino, Black, or Woman president this would not be tolerated. Why is it ok to harass, stalk & bully this young man because he is gay? It isn't. He has civil rights just like everyone else.

    September 30, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  2. Thao Pross

    Attorney General Cox sees the behavior of Andrew Shirvell as bullying, but is not willing to take action, instead only refers to the First Amendement. What kind of role models are the both of them for kids? If kids cyber-bully another kid and the kid bullied commits suicide, can the bullies then refer to the First Amendment, too, and walk without any consequences? Is this what we want kids to learn from us, the grown-ups? No matter how many specials programs about "Bullying at School" the media will broadcast, if grown-ups in our society are such bad role models, how can we expect from kids to understand that a behavior like this is wrong and that it has consequences...

    September 30, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  3. Willie Broussard

    My concern is whether Mr. Shirvell is actually doing this blog "off-hours". I am certain an Asst. AG's workload is not contained in the normal 8-5 business day. Moreover, is he an exempt or non-exempt employee. I think this warrants further investigation. let's put a 100-watt spotlight on him for a few months and see how he likes it. Clearly, Mr. Shirvell needs to get a life. Anderson, please do not let this story fall by the wayside – let's keep the pressure on Mr. Shirvell's boss.

    September 30, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  4. Jane

    I wonder if Mike Cox was not leaving office in a short few weeks if his position on Mr. Shirvell would be different. He clearly is shirking his duty when it comes to addressing this situation. Just makes me question what else did Mr. Cox shirk when it came to Mr. Shirvell's lack of judgement.

    September 30, 2010 at 6:41 am |
  5. Sean Clark

    I would think the Attorney General would be concerned that maybe some of this blog, or photos or video that Shirvell used was done with state property, putting the state of Michigan in jeopardy for a law suit for libel and/or slander. If I were Chris' lawyers, I would be subpoenaing any and all state supplied computer systems and phone records (including the actual phone) used by Shirvell and conduct a full computer forensic study on all. If he has used state property, Armstrong should sue the state for helping to facilitate libel and slander and take that state to bankruptcy.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:53 am |
  6. Steve from CA

    The assistant AG technically isn't off hours, since he most likely doesn't get paid by the hour and checks in/out through a time clock. Even if he is at home, he is still Assistant Attorney General of the State of Michigan. This first amendment thing doesn't fly either because the courts have ruled that not everything could be protected by it. I mean, isn't there something on how shouting fire in a crowded place like a theater isn't covered under the first amendment? Same concept applies here.

    September 30, 2010 at 3:01 am |
  7. Boris in Montréal Canada

    Just to be fair, I went to see Shirvell blog about Chris Armstrong. I think he knows that what he say in there is well received, because there is no way to leave comment or to contact him to counteract his libellous venom.

    I am not American, but isn't there any laws against defamation and heinous propaganda in USA? Isn't there an obligation of reserve and self-restraint on public officials?

    September 30, 2010 at 2:27 am |
  8. jeff

    writing from canada, and admittedly ignorant re: 1st amendment; i can assure you there is a difference between free speech and hate speech...

    September 30, 2010 at 2:25 am |
  9. Terry Lodmell

    Mich Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell should be ASHAMED of himself, his conduct as a supposedly educated man is pitiful and is UNBECOMING of a State Employee.

    My sympathies to the taxpayers of Michigan, neither their AG or his Assistant AG Shirvell are doing them proud!

    September 30, 2010 at 2:18 am |
  10. Tray

    Wow, really? It is very immature of Shirvell to do that to this one particular student. And he says he is allowed to do this because of his "First Amendment" rights. Well what if someone made a blog about him saying awful things. Pretty sure he wouldn't like that, now would he?

    September 30, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  11. Nina,Berkeley,ca

    Mich.Asst.AG. Should fired.I am happy to see AG will take care. Thanks.

    September 30, 2010 at 1:20 am |
  12. Matt Schonert

    This man's boss, Mike Cox, is hiding behind free speech. The First Amendment guarantees a person's right to express opinions, but it does not give license to intimidate and harass.

    Andrew Survell's behavior, independent of his speech, is enough to justify his dismissal, and Michigan residents should have no faith in the Attorney General's office as long as he remains in service.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  13. C.Hunzinger

    It concerns me when ANY public official sees fit to hide behind the "protective" cover of "Freedom of Speech" while at the same time appears to be denying a young ELECTED student representative the same rights!

    September 30, 2010 at 12:12 am |
  14. Pamela, Michigan

    As a Michigander, a U-M alumna and state employee,Iam furious @Mike Cox for not firing this guy.There has to be something more behind this obsession.You can bet I'll be calling his office to complain.Thank god Cox will be gone in a few months. He's been a disaster for our beautiful state.

    September 30, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  15. Cathy S

    Shirvell should be fired and Cox should be held accountable for not taking action. Bigotry and hate equals terrorism- I thought we had zero tolerance for that. We'd better redefine this line quickly. Don't any of Shirvells actions come under libel or slander.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
  16. Jen C.

    Unprofessional. As Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Shirvell is a direct representative of the state. He needs to stick to his job and we should remind him that even in his "off" times that he is still represents the state of Michigan on behalf of all people, gay, straight, Christian and otherwise. Separation of church and state is one of the highest held beliefs of our nation and of our nation's founding fathers. As one of the highest representatives of law enforcement, he should respect this and cease and desist this sort of of behavior. His personal beliefs have no place in the public eye so long as the man is a representative of the law (especially if these beliefs compel him to encourage hatred and intolerance towards the people he represents).

    September 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  17. Frank Adler

    The Michigan AG is correct, regardless of whether the writings or speech of his state employee is preceived to be hateful or offensive. That First Ammendment of the Constitution provides that right of free speech and freedom of the press. In the oath office taken by Federal Govenment officials they swear or affirm to defend the Constitution without "hesitation or mental reservation." And Article VI of the U.S. Constitution it makes compulsorary for all public official to swear to defend the Constitution. "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution"

    September 29, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  18. Philippe carre

    I'm french and very surprised by that story.
    A question for M.Cox:
    If the victim of your assistant's bigotery were to kill himself because of this diffamation campaign, would you fire him?

    Have you heard about prevention an anticipation?


    September 29, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  19. Ursula Roberts

    Mike Cox did a frightening job justifying the lunatic behavior of his underling Andrew Shirvell. Mike Cox is running for Gov. of Mich. I hope he does not win, he sounded just as dangerous as Mr. Shirvell, quieter but just as dangerous.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  20. Tim

    Shirvell is taking jabs at this guy that seem almost laughably immature. If he's doing it because of Armstrong's "radical agenda," I'd like to hear what's so radical about it.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
  21. karl

    That dude seriously needs to get a frickin' hobby!

    September 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  22. H Benavidez

    I am completely shocked! This is a public official whom represents the people of the State of Michigan. He cannot serve in that capacity! This guy, a public official, is stalking, harassing this young man and is possibly a danger to this poor college kid. I work in the private sector and my conduct is limited. I would be dismissed from my job immediately. I am simply outraged! People this is insane.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
  23. Patricia

    This issue is not about free speech, it is just more of the same type of rhetoric polluting our world.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  24. Christina

    Anderson, I'm glad you brought attention to this matter! I agree with Julie (about writing AG Cox). Shirvel is a public employee, and as such, his conduct is unprofessional and inappropriate! He is no longer a private citizen, he is a servant of the public! As a public servant myself (I am a teacher), I do not post, write, or make statements that might bring dishonor to my profession or that would put my job in jeopardy. All I can say about what Shirvel is doing is "libel, libel, libel!" Chris Armstrong should file charges!

    September 29, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  25. julie Albert

    You should encourage all of your viewers to write to AG Cox as I did tonight. This bigotry and hatred being spun as First Amendment rights is that of a fascist.
    Shame on Mike Cox.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  26. Petra Meyer

    The story about the Michigan Asst. Atty. General bullying the college student sounds like a tragedy waiting to happen. Shirvell should be fired most definitely. He sounds like a dangerously deranged person.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  27. Francisca Pereira

    I am from Singapore and a fan of your show. I am moved by the plight of this student. The conduct of a pubic official should be held to a higher moral standard. A public official should never be allowed to attack any individual.
    Anderson Cooper people are safe because of what you do. Thank you. You are one of my heroes.

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

    its obvious that mike cox is the enabler and it seems political. this is dangerous stuff. who would be mr cox's boss?

    September 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  29. Anne

    While I do not agree with Mr. Shirvell's point of view and tactics at all, please spare me the indignation by CNN over the fact that a "government official" who is therefore held to a higher standard must be "kept honest" by this network for crossing the line in his private life.

    This from the very network that employs and touts Elliot Spitzer? REALLY?! An ELECTED official who without question broke the law.

    Maybe if Mr. Shirvell is ultimately fired, which in my opinion he should be, he can land on his feet at CNN as there seems to be a habit of looking the other way when hiring law breaking government officials.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  30. Rachelle

    The 1st Amendment should never be used as an excuse for disrespect! Love you Anderson!

    September 29, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  31. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    His involvement is "over-kill".

    September 29, 2010 at 10:06 pm |