October 28th, 2010
08:13 PM ET

DeGeneres to straight community: 'We need your help now'

Martina Stewart
AC360° Digital Producer

(CNN) – Ellen DeGeneres is making a rare plea for help in the wake of Facebook postings by an elected Arkansas school board official laced with the terms “queer” and “fag” and celebrating the deaths of gay people.

Related: Arkansas schools chief condemns anti-gay posts by school board member

The openly lesbian daytime talk show host calls on heterosexuals to condemn such hatred and bigotry in much the same way that some whites stood in solidarity with African-Americans during the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century.

“It would not be acceptable if someone used the n-word,” DeGeneres says in an interview that airs Thursday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. “When the civil rights movement happened, it took not just the community of blacks to make a change, but white people needed to step in and say this is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate this and treat any citizen with lesser value. And, I think, as a gay person, I would like to personally ask every heterosexual person out there who is appalled by this to – we need your help now. This is absurd and he should resign.”

Clint McCance, the vice president of the Midland School District in Arkansas, took to his personal Facebook page earlier this week and slammed a recent national awareness campaign sparked by a rash of suicides by young people who had been bullied because they were gay or perceived to be gay by their peers.

The local elected official wrote that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a magazine focusing on gay news. McCance promised to disown his own children if they are gay and said he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die."

In the interview, DeGeneres also tells Cooper she does not think McCance’s views are justified by his Christian faith, which he referenced in his controversial Facebook postings.

“It gives religion a bad name,” says DeGeneres. “And I think Jesus is – Jesus is the one who taught not to judge and to love everyone. So I don’t know what kind of religion he follows, but that is not [being] a good Christian.”

Asked by Cooper what her initial reaction was to hearing about McCance’s comments, DeGeneres says she was taken aback.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she tells Cooper.

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Xavier

    Amen Ellen.
    If it had been race-related as AC initially mentioned, there would've been a more fervent outcry because the Afr-Amer community wouldn't have stood for it. The gay community needs to unite and start standing up. As a black gay man, I feel disconnected from my gay brothers and sisters of other races all too often. We let cultural norms and everyday jabs go undisputed all too often.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
  2. Barbara

    I'm with you, Ellen. So...what do I do...who do I call...how do I help you?

    October 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  3. Michele Davis

    Good job Ellen. So well put. That is NOT a good Christian, and he IS giving Christian folks a BAD name. And hetero folks as well. But I applaud Ellen for speaking out to straight folks and including the Christian community as well. I think Jesus would like your message of love. Thanks so much for your words of direction in this painful and chaotic moment. It is just so devastating and I am broken hearted for the family that is missing their little one right now. Just terrible.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  4. Danelle

    I so agree and you go Ellen!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  5. Wannetta Wilson

    I was born and raised in Arkansas and I am sad to say that there are many people here who echo his feelings. I came so close to committing suicide when I was a teenager, because I knew I was biggest sinner in the world and everyone would hate me if they knew I was a lesbian. I was bullied unrelentingly my senior year to the point I either had to kill myself or run away. I finally ran away. My life turned out okay, BUT for many Arkansas Gay Teenagers that hasn't been the case and it's thanks to people like Mr. Mc Chance.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  6. Julius Gulius

    I agree. I think heterosexuals definitely need help.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  7. Toni

    My best friend is gay. We have this hi-five we always do (it is different than everyone else's) and I had to make him give me this hi-five and tell me if he felt suicidal that he would call his mom, my mom or me. He means the world to me since he is my only friend!!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  8. Leigh kundrick

    I am appauld by this and i support Ellen because of who she is.FABULOUS

    October 28, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Jess

    Go Ellen! I am a very proud Christian person, and people that disgrace the Christian faith like this make me so angry!
    What "good Christian" hopes for people to commit suicide and die? Those are such hateful words, and people like that should rethink who they are really following, because I know its not Jesus.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  10. jo p.

    I'll never understand what people like this man from Arkansas lives must be like – let alone his poor kids. Can you say living in hell. To desire the suicide/death of anyone means you have relegated them to "other" or "enemy". From there, the seeds of hatred are watered well and grow daily. Does that sound like a good Christian to anybody? Maybe he's in the closet himself – they seem to be the worst haters – you have to wonder.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:18 pm |
  11. Caraus Williams

    It's a crying shame of how people are treating other people because of preferences. Bullying is very unacceptable. What gives a person or people the right 2 do something disgraceful 2 others?

    October 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
  12. shannon

    This is stupid. Leave them alone. Why do people gotta hate one person for who they love? Is it cause u werent picked? Grow up and let everyone be happy. That is why we live in america!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  13. Jo Cassube

    as an elected official he represents EVERYONE, not just his chose few. I think the people of Arkansa, besides being embarassed by this man, should demand a recall imediately!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  14. Dan M

    Where do we go to get rid of this piece of trash? It's poeple like McCance that don't deserve to have the right to speak in public, let alone be in charge of children. This is as backwoods as it gets. Step down now you low life!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  15. Luc Gendrot

    Good for Ellen. And good for CNN for reporting on this. This kind of hatred needs to stop, it's disgusting.

    I would question the fact that he would disown his children if they came out, could you imagine? What kind of parent says anything so potentially hurtful? Imagine if his children were gay and were considering telling him, if they ever were, they aren't now!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  16. Cory Loose

    Tell me how I can help, and I will!!

    October 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  17. Richard aka XmiltaryXX

    I will do anything to help. I am hetero/straight and a Christian. I too think his comments are inhuman and extremely cruel to say the least.

    I believe he should be removed and believe he will be. I also will be following this closely.

    I have written this school board as have many of my facebook friends and will post this to facebook. I have many good hearted friends. My family is talking about this also. I am doing my best to spread the word the best I know how.

    Thank You so much for asking. I feel honored. My sword my service are yours Ellen. Tell us what we should do and it will be done here in this house.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  18. John Thomas Tucker

    We should not be facing this kind of person alone. You are right to ask Ellen. I wish you didnt have too.

    October 28, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  19. Dolores Jefferson

    It is horrible that a so-called educator and christian is so full of hate. Sometimes when people are THAT hateful they may be afraid of something they or their loved ones might do. However I do believe that we heterosexuals should stand with our gay brothers and sisters. Peace

    October 28, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  20. Alane

    My entire family stands with you Ellen. Everyone should feel safe and protected from the kind of bigotry that school board member posted on Facebook.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  21. Audrey Nickel

    It IS the time for us to stand with our gay brothers and sisters. Let's end the bigotry.

    My only response to my daughter, if she were to tell me that she was a lesbian, would be "I love you."

    October 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
  22. Pamela Morgan

    Go Ellen! Go ahead and be straight, but don't be narrow. Speak your truth when you hear injustice.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  23. Judy Stewart

    I so agree with Ellen. We all need to hang together and stand with each other in condemning this behavior. It tears at the very fabric of our collective souls. I am a born again Christian who tries to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior every day of my life and if you read the bible–he came to seek and serve–never to condemn. For God so LOVED the world that He sent his only Son.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  24. Mary Blakely

    I am a mother of five children and if any of them were students in a school with a board member like that,I would demand that he be fired.His statements are abusive and a reflection of the darkness of his character. With all the violence and negative influences that our children in this country deal with on a daily basis just by watching TV,talking to their peers,or listening to music,shouldn't a person in the position he is in be held to a higher moral standard? I don't know what I can do to help with this kind of situation,but I can promise you that I as a parent I have and will continue to teach my children that this sort of hate and ignorance is wrong and not acceptable behavior. I guess he just wasn't raised to love others as he loves himself,or perhaps he is and that is just the root of his evil!

    October 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  25. Michael Coats

    I'd be glad to help, I am a firm believer of EQUAL rights for ALL Americans. Now get rid of hate crimes, and special laws for gays, handicapped and anyone else with "Special" needs, then you will have your Equality. There can be no equality when I beat up some stupid white redneck, then go beat up some black guy, then go beat up some gay. Do you think I would get the same amount of time for all three? I think not. Quit with the only my side should get special care, and I'll give you my undying equality.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
  26. kathy

    Even if you believe homosexuality is a sin (which I find absurd) Christ preached forgiveness. Clearly some of his followers make no attempt to live up the standard he set for them.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  27. Chris

    Ellen rocks. McCance should be shown the door, and the road out of town. I'm an advocate of free speech, especially for unpopular ideas, but McCance has admitted to his own lack of the most basic qualifications for the position he holds. He has expressed a rabid hatred for a substantial portion of the people he is supposed to serve. He has expressed an indifference - and even an amusement - with their suffering. If I were a parent in his district, my children would be absent from school until he is gone.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
  28. Jen

    I have lived in the state of Arkansas for four years now and have never witnessed so much corruption in my life. Being born in a Northern state I, my husband and children have been discriminated against, been forced into involuntary servitude and my daughter has not been allowed an education. I could go on but for what. We are trapped in this state like slaves. I posted my disgust for this man on Face book. No true Christian would say the cruel things he said. This state is full of people who hate!.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm |
  29. lanna

    It is so sad. Noone should be treated this way. Gays do need assistance now.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  30. Kathy

    As a straight person who recently found out my 16 year old nephew is gay, I am extremely offended by Mr. McCance's comments. Ignorance should not be tolerated and Mr. McCance should resign. I love my nephew unconditionally, the knowledge that he is gay did not change who he is, which makes hearing Mr. McCance's comments difficult. It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children tolerance, not only through our words but through our actions and deeds. Have we not learned anything from our past.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
  31. kurt

    i agree..i'm a hetero male..madly in love with my wife. but i have to say i have lots of gay freinds..nicest people on earth i dont care about anyones preference..they're nice loving caring people...i wish the whole world was that way ..its a shame they have to go thru this ignorant ridicule...the world would be a lot better place than these redneck so called religious idiots would know a few ....its a real shame people are so closed minded in this world..gays have been around since the origin of time...they just now are free to perhaps come forward..i'm sure its a relief. bless their hearts..i hope one moves in next door..i could use some decorating hints...and a souffle and i'll work on their car ...lol

    October 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  32. rob

    though may not agree with his pont of view, it is well within his right to have it and speak it if he wants. thats what freedom of speech is all about.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  33. Arleen Lindstedt

    The response of all heterosexuals is critical in this time of ugliness, tragedy, and brutal bigotry. As an advocate for human rights and a straight ally, I sent letters yesterday to the Midland School District, the Arkansas Times, signed petitions, posted Anderson Cooper's call to Clint McCance - and will continue to keep my facebook profile pic purple until McCance is removed from the board and charged with inciting hate crimes.......

    October 28, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  34. Ray Jackson, MS

    It isn't just about this guy. There needs to be federal protection of all school age children. The right to a public education has to fit into the Constitution some where. After all the Supreme Court determined that even illegals have a right to an education so undoubtedly American children do to. There should be penalties at the federal level that include prison time for any school official, school board member, or teacher that does not protect children from any type of bullying. This needs to end today but you see what happens when it it is left up to the local level.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  35. Deirdre

    This school board member is a horrific human being devoid of education and heart.and does not have anything of value to teach our children. Whether one agrees with the gay lifestyle or not...keep your opinions to yourself because it's really none of your business and be one who teaches tolerance and respect of all human beings. Ellen and Anderson, thank you for your efforts in making our world a better, more informed and more tolerant place. Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated, stop judging and start educating yourself beyond the tip of your nose. Signed a Heterosexual Muslim 🙂

    October 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
  36. Shad Landry

    This guy Clint McCance has no business being in any kind of autority. He should be removed from his position in the school board and not even allowed any kind of faculty position. He is surely not a good role model. In fact it is inhumane to even be posting things like this. He claims to be Christian? Far from it! As a Heterosexual Christian myself and having gay friends and relatives, I don't belive that others have the right to judge. It's not our place! We are all considered equal in God's eye's! Therefore, he should be banned from any kind of teaching practices. He has corrupt ways that are unAmerican! Let it be known that the Gay community is not alone in this battle! United We Stand! Divided We Fall!

    October 28, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  37. dennish

    He should be ashamed of himself and probably fired, but this is NOT a civil rights issue. Should not even be discussed in the same venue.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  38. dolores kovachick

    degeneres is correct. This viciousness towards another group is uncalled for and inappropriate. As a school board member his personal opinion is not required. His job is to enforce the letter of the law. Discrimination is not allowed. The Bible says do to others what you want others to do you. Shame on him

    October 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  39. sara

    What this man did was very hateful and a disgrace. As far as I am concerned he should be no where near any children what so ever. He is an extremists of the worst kind, the hate in his heart and soul is criminal.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  40. Donald Webb

    The community in which he serves really should recall him, unless thry agree with his views which is entirely possible in that part of the country. Shame on them for putting up with the bastard!

    October 28, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  41. ed

    Even if you believe being gay is a sin or wrong, we should still treat one another with love and respect. people who preach hate should not be in positions of power.

    October 28, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  42. jane hamilton


    I am married and straight and a college communications (writing) teacher.

    My students feel safe in writing about themselves in essays and in talking to the rest of the class in presentations – because they feel valued and accepted, regardless of their race, creed or sexual orientation.

    Good for you, Ellen for calling on everyone to support gay people. Many, many of us are with you 100%. And thanks to CNN for giving Ellen a forum so she can appeal for support!

    Jane in Ontario, Canada

    October 28, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
  43. renee mcclure

    But yet he calls himself a christian, how can someone to b god like and show so much hate just bcause someone is different than he is. I pray my god doesnt hate like he does. God is love and he made us all, we r not the judge he is. Mayb he should take a look at himself, god will judge him.

    October 28, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  44. Jeremiah

    The N-word and Anti-Gay sentiment have nothing to do with each other... But the remarks of this man are wrong and offensive nonetheless... Ellen is correct in her words about Christ and religion... The words from this public official, should not be tolerated... Personal beliefs and opinions, are public information once on the net, and should be dealt with accordingly... His beliefs clearly show that he cannot hold his position without basis... In turn short changing the students, staff that he has be given the opportunity to lead...I support you Ellen, on your push against hate...

    October 28, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  45. Amy

    That is disgusting! I hope McCance gets fired, and I hope to god someone takes his kids away from him, because he doesn't deserve to be a parent!

    October 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
  46. ben

    i am AGAINST gays but i don't hate them and also america is about freedom of speech so there is noting wrong with speaking against gays

    October 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  47. Donnie

    I agree that we need to condemn violence and discrimination against homosexuals, but it's an outright disgrace to compare gay rights to the civil rights movement! Come on Ellen–that's just low! People can choose to be gay, but they can't choose their skin color! This is non-sense.

    October 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  48. Eunice

    Hearing about McCance's delight in death from suicides and AIDS reminds me of the first time I realized that slavery, human trafficking, genocide, racism, etc .... isn't over. Despite it being the 21st century. 😦

    October 28, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  49. Karen

    I agree with her. We need to all stand together in the name of sanity and human decency. Bigotry is never OK, especially when you are in a position of power over children.

    October 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  50. Jackie Carter

    Only God has right to judge us, I am glad Anderson & Ellen are going to discuss this tonight, I watch news every day but I hadn't heard of this so thanks for bringing yet another nutcase to our attention.

    October 28, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
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