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October 29th, 2010
11:59 PM ET

Dr. Phil slams Arkansas official for 'non-apology apology'

Martina Stewart
AC360° Digital Producer

(CNN) – Outspoken anti-bullying advocate and TV talk show host Dr. Phil is far from satisfied with the apology offered Thursday by an embattled local Arkansas school district official.

Related: Arkansas school board member to resign over anti-gay post

“This is the biggest non-apology – non-apology apology I’ve heard,” Phil McGraw says about Clint McCance in an interview that airs Friday on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. “He did not apologize for what he said. He didn’t apologize for the message that this gives to children, to kids, to parents out there. What he apologized for was saying that suicide was the only out and that he’s sorry for that he said that.”

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."

After his postings sparked national attention, McCance apologized for his comments Thursday in an exclusive interview on Anderson Cooper 360°.

"I'm sorry I've hurt people with my comments," McCance said. "I'm sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum."

"I would never support suicide for any kids," he also said, adding “I don't support bullying of any kids."

McCance, who was recently re-elected to a new four-year term on the board of the Midland School District, also told Cooper that he intends to resign from his elected office.

Notwithstanding McCance’s efforts to atone, McGraw says McCance should have done more.

“This went beyond just opinion,” McGraw says of McCance’s slur-filled online postings. “So it has to go to a very strong apology if you’re going to try to balance the process here.”

And McGraw offers his own interpretation of McCance’s mea culpa.

“I certainly see his apology as suggesting that he’s sorry that all of this came to light, he’s sorry that somebody called him on it.”

soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. emily

    I am apalled that a person would say something as awful as he did. Do your school boards do psyche evaluations,because this man should definitely not have been in the position he is.
    To use a social networking site to justify suicide in teens is abhorrent and disgusting.
    In his position how many young teens has he victimized with his silent and until now, secret distaste of those with alternate orientation.
    This man needs some counselling for sure.
    He also needs to be removed from his position of authority, this is not the message we want to send to our children or our society.
    He belongs in the dark ages.

    October 30, 2010 at 6:12 am |
  2. Belinda

    How do you apologize for something that's deep rooted in your heart?

    October 30, 2010 at 5:34 am |
  3. Christina

    Yes, Clint's entitled to his opinion. And yes, I see why some fearful, self-righteous people might may support this guy. But in MY opinion, this guy should resign, and never, never be allowed to work with children again. He is on the SCHOOL BOARD, people!! Are you serious that you would accept this apology after hearing what he said?!? Some of you who say, "well, he did apologize" Are you kidding me?? If Osama bin Laden apologized, would you feel the same way?
    If Clint McCance meant what he said, he's just as evil as bin Laden.

    October 30, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  4. Joe

    Hes apologizing he was caught. Your absolutely right if you want to express your opinion tell it to anyone you want! But if you tell it to the public and its full of hate and bigotry, then yes.. expect some backlash. Its funny how so many conservatives are so quick to defend this guy.. why? He clearly thinks gays are sub human, thats not an opinion to be shared amongst elected officials. Don't you think its funny how conservatives will blather about freedom of speech until you say something about THEIR values (I.E. Christianity) hmm? Double standard.

    October 30, 2010 at 4:43 am |
  5. Jeff Wilkinson

    I don't want gay people to commit suicide and I don't hate gay people. Everyone has a right to live their own life. But at the same time, everyone is entitled to opinion. Yes, McCance's opinion is way to radical for a school board official and the public can judge him for that. But now, the guy can't even apologize without the psychiatrists, such as Dr. Phil, judging that. It's no wonder people are afraid to open their mouths these days. No opinion is the right one unless the news media and the psychiatrists approve it.

    October 30, 2010 at 4:29 am |
  6. steve

    Dr.Phil was so right!I totally support everything he pointed out!Clint McCance is only sorry because he was cought.Would Clint be sorry, if he didnt get cought?Would Clint still have this hateful way of thinking about gays,if America didnt stand up against this type of bad behavior toward gay children and there families?Clint is a full grown man,he should have known better!Clint has so much work to do!He needs to do more than appoligise for his behavior.

    October 30, 2010 at 3:43 am |
  7. Jeff D.

    I don't believe he is sorry for what he said. I think he's sorry he got caught.

    October 30, 2010 at 3:26 am |
  8. Wade

    A. Cooper,

    Has his wife said anything about what was said?

    Wade H.

    October 30, 2010 at 3:12 am |
  9. Maryann

    I am straight, Christian, and defend anyone's right to live the life they feel is right for them. This man did not apologize, he just changed the wording around, never did he say he was going to change his opinion. I am ashamed for him.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:46 am |
  10. molly

    Whatever happen to love and compassion? If I pictured my Lord Jesus Christ here right now speaking to a gay person, he would show great compassion and love just like he would with anyone else. He would start with love then his teachings. People who hears his teachings will digest it and decide from there what choice to take. He did not judge nor condemn; always show his love and compassion. So who did this VP think he is to condemn. It is not his place to do that.The Lord said we should not judge or else we will be judged.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  11. Ronnie

    I was always taught that if you have an opinion thats fine, but if it is hurtful keep it to yourself. To think he was on a school board and talks that way about kids, there is something wrong there. I think I would be afraid to allow him around children. I would think by the way he talked that maybe he should be watched around his own children, I fear for them. For someone to speak that strongly on a public forum, can't imagine how he forces his opinion on his family and the mental damage he maybe doing to his children. I have never responded like this before, but this man has some issues. If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything. Thanks for letting me sound off!!

    October 30, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  12. Jacob Ellerbee

    I'm ashamed to say that I am an Arkansan and reside in the same state as this punk. No matter your beliefs, you can not go in a public forum and say things like that (and not expect consequences).

    October 30, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  13. Nicholas Rowley

    Whatever happened to ones right to an opinion. It is not fact, just how someone feels about something, hell anything. Doctor Phill and everyone else has to realize, he has a right to say what he feels. And his beliefs are just that, his beliefs. Why don't we put a stop to the clan and it's disruptive behavior. They have the righ to free speech but this guy does not? And I don't think this guy hung any Black men or burned a cross in the yards of minorities. Or what about the skin heads, when are we going to put a stop to them. Look this world is a playground for people who simply seek attention and their 15 minutes of fame. We have serious problems in this country, so why dont the Doctor Phills of the world get together and help bring a change to serious issues. And leave folks to their opinions. Like my statements, we all have opinions.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:06 am |
  14. nick

    Are you kidding me?!?! Whether or not just posted something on his FB page that is pure hatred and should be considered a hate crime. I'm not gay and that is one of the most offensive things I've heard someone say. That goes way beyond an opinion. That is too the extreme. McGraw is so correct he only is apologizing because he got caught and people made a big deal but what did he think?? This guy works for the school district. He dictates what students are learning. If there are gay children in that district they are definitely hurt deeply and offended by his comments. Not to mention the example this guy is setting to children is that of hate and its just wrong. He shouldn't of even had the option to resign, he should of been stripped of his position. That's just sad that in 2010 people still think like this. Befoere is a guy who wants to burn religious books and now this guy. Amazing!

    October 30, 2010 at 2:06 am |
  15. john

    Typical rant of someone who follows a 2000 year old book and believes there is a magic dude in the sky.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:05 am |
  16. Maxine

    I watched this guy give his apology and think it should be enough no matter what Dr.Phil says. He is allowed his opinion and should Not be made to retire because of them. I am sure he has done a lot of good things in his life and because he used his right to freedom of speech should not be penalized for the rest of his life no matter what doc phil says.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:04 am |
  17. Anne

    One more thing: Words have power, people.....choose them wisely. Once they leave your mouth you can't take them back.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  18. Keith Norman Eveleth

    I feel that this man said what he feels, and any leader in our country must open their mind to the people no right or wrong because they speak for the people A person in control of our rules/laws should never speak down on any group we should have learn from what was done to the Jews and the Afo Americans, Native Americans. This man should never speak for the people and be taken from office We don't teach our children with how to open their their world with leaders like this

    October 30, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  19. Anne

    This guy's "apology" was fake. How could this guy be so remorseful, knowing how vicious his comments were? Apparently, he has felt this way a long time, so for him to turn on a dime and be remorseful is disingenuous. What he is sorry for is the fact that his hateful words have come back on him, just as he said; he's reaping what he sowed.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  20. Brittany

    This world would be a better place if everyone was treated equal and given the same rights.He was wrong for what he said but everyone has their own opinion on life and his is ignorant

    October 30, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  21. Brad Wishon

    I have never before left a comment on any of these entries. But I could not let this slide. AUDACITY! AUDACITY.And yes, a person who spouts off hate should HAVE to apologize for it. The real problem is that they shouldn't have to be told to do so. Obviously, your mother did not raise you well, Gary!

    October 30, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  22. ashley

    I just hope people across the country do not think all Arkansans are like this. I'm still proud to call this state my home. As an educator, this upsets me. First of all, he shouldn't have those thoughts. Second, as vice president of the school board, he should have known better! His apology only really counts if he is truly sorry for the comments he has made!

    October 30, 2010 at 1:29 am |
  23. Rev James EAton

    If the apology is real, it should be connected to action: let him resign from his position on the school board as a sign he's serious. Private individuals are entitled to express any opinion, no matter how stupid, or offensive. Public officials are not. He doesn't deserve to be in contact with children, and certainly not in a policy making position with a school.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  24. miguel arriaga

    I will have to be out of my mind if I started to take my moral advice from a tv host... no matter how many doctorates he has.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:12 am |
  25. Steve

    I agree with Nancy. I saw him on AC 360. And he did apologize, repeatedly.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:05 am |
  26. Lawrence

    So, a person who does not like gays/lesbian is now a bully?

    October 30, 2010 at 12:58 am |
  27. Kevin Eubank

    You GO, Dr. Phil! It's high time we stop excusing hate as protected by the Constitution. The idea is stupid and has far outlived it's acceptability. We should all stand up against hate and shine the light into the darkness.
    I understand that hate is born from fear or lack of understanding or knowledge when directed at a culture, race or personal preference of any kind, but in this country and in this day and age, I feel it is time to pull the plug on this kind of crap.
    I'm glad Dr. Phil made an example of this 'person' and his perverted belief system.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  28. David Myers

    As a person in charge of young people, including young gay and lesbian people, he does not have a right to express any opinion he feels, particularly if that opinion is hateful language designed explicitly to encourage young gays or lesbians to choose suicide. His so called "opinions" are actually hate crimes, especially since he is in a position of authority over young people. If he doesn't resign he should be impeached.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:56 am |
  29. Phil

    Mr. McCance pretends to be a good Christian. What would Jesus have to say about Mr. McCance's comments? Anderson, I wish you could arrange an interview with him to find out. I suspect that Jesus would require Mr. McCance to recite the act of contrition at least 100 times.
    Thank you Anderson for bringing attention to this story. I believe that alot of good will come of it and that lives will be saved.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  30. Doug Sauvage

    No apology will make this man safe around children. It's one thing to say something like this if you are just some random hick, but to advocate suicide when you are on the school board? Politely accept whatever apology he gives, but keep him away from kids for the rest of his life. People like this should not be anywhere near a school.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:53 am |
  31. Richard

    How can someone give an apology when they have such strong ( and misguided ) beliefs. He simply was backing down in the face of overwhelming public embarrassment.
    I no longer care about this sort of apology- apologies are for people that get angry, or make a mistake.
    Take for instance I say- "I'm glad the Nazis killed the Jews". Then come back tomorrow and say- I love Jewish people- I do not know why I said that. Logically- you should think I'm nuts. not a hater.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  32. Nancy

    He wasn't sorry for what he said. He was sorry that what he said got noticed the way it did, bascally, that he got caught. His mind is just as narrow and dark as it was when he wrote the words.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:42 am |
  33. Jonah

    Defending this man's unspeakable behavior on the technicality that it's an "opinion" or "free speech" is a joke. Anyone not outraged by such disgusting bigotry and hatred is probably feeling the same way themselves. His words are absolutely heinous, unforgivable. If he had said all straight people need to die from AIDS, the reaction from the public would have been drastically different, but since it’s only those “gays” . . . well, let’s not make a big deal of it. Bottom line: if outrage toward hate speech is reserved only for those deemed "worthy," then the concept itself fails on a fundamental level. What nauseating hypocrisy. And what a sad commentary on the collective humanity of the American public.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:40 am |
  34. Chris Bates

    I disagree with everyone that is saying he does NOT owe an apology for his opinion. With the office that he holds, and posting the opinion on Facebook where millions can see it, he should apologize, and lose his position. With the office he holds, there is a trust from parents, kids, and the general population that what he says and does is for the well being of the children. What he did regardless of his opinion was negative on the well being of the kids whether gay or not.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:39 am |
  35. Van

    This guy needs to apologize. Like Dr Phil said. This is beyond the matter of opinion, this is clearly hate! Just because America is the land of the free, doesn't mean we can discount others in this way especially when it comes to children. This man should resign. IF not, the parents should take their kids out of this school, then boycott it!

    October 30, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  36. Stephanie

    I am with Dr, Phil on this one. I am currently running a program with the schools in my area against bullying. We teach kids to accept and not to judge. We teach them that difference does not mean different. We are all human beings with feelings. Sure everyone has opinions but we need to know when our opinions matter. If your opinion is only harmful then you should keep it to yourself. I think there is no turning back for McCance, especially with so many people and programs supporting the "anti-bullying" movement. No apology will suffice for this guy..his career is over. We lead by exemple right?

    October 30, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  37. Sheila

    I certainly don't agree with this man's harsh view of homosexuality, but I'm curious..who reported his posting on facebook, and to whom? Is there a committee for radical facebook comments? I've seen lots of nasty comments on all kinds of subjects, but unless someone is threatening to harm somebody, I don't think we have the right to take away his right to expressing an opinion, however horrible it sounds. It's the downside of freedom of speech.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:28 am |
  38. dolores kovachick

    Mr. McCance is apologizing because he aired his opinion in a national forum and was met with others who opinion was opposite his. Those individuals threatened his family. Now he see there are people out there with an opinion as awful as his. Sad but true.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:11 am |
  39. James

    It is one thing to have an opinion .. but this was not an opinion it was hateful and wrong to say , this is excactly what bullied teens are up against people like him telling them that the world would be better off, how would many of you like to have your child come home from school saying my teacher thinks I am not worth anything because I am just an average kid in school and that the workld would be better off if I killed myself because he thinks I am stupid?

    October 30, 2010 at 12:07 am |
  40. Teresa

    Well, I believe that Clint McCance only apologized because he got caught on Facebook. I'm sure he was remorseful but the words/language he used were already damaging enough. I'm a Catholic and I have my own personal views and beliefs, but who are we to judge. I will leave it up to God to judge all of us.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  41. linda dennis

    Thank you Dr. Phil for standing up I am right beside you on this. This man should never be allowed to work in any kind of school. Gay people are just people. I will say a pray for this person who had harsh words for just people.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  42. john Cane

    The comments from McCance make me want to vomit. What a pathetic excuse for a human being. He is an utter embarrassment to Arkansas and The U.S in general. I hope the adage "What goes around comes around" will apply to this piece of steaming garbage

    October 29, 2010 at 11:58 pm |
  43. sue

    Anderson, please keep this story in the spotlight. Hopefully it will be the impetus for heterosexuals and homosexuals to unite against bullying and gay bashing.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  44. Roger

    Speaking from a point-of-view of someone whose parents DID disown him for coming out, the words that Clint McCance used on FB and then in his apology strike me as insincere and hateful. Especially as a public official involved with children, he does have a responsibility for his words and actions.
    Suicide has been a recurring theme in my life and his words bring a chill to my heart. How sad that we, as humans, have not progressed beyond such terrible behavior

    October 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  45. Jason

    The truth is, there is nothing that McCanse could have said to "balance" things. No apology is sufficient, or believable.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  46. Brittany

    As a pre-service teacher in Arkansas, I am ashamed of what this man has said. I understand that he has his rights to free speech, however, when you are dealing with students that are already dealing with emotions and hormones that they have no idea how to control the last thing we should do is make them feel more alienated. I believe he should resign quickly and possibly take some action to make students feel accepted for whoever and whatever they may be. As educators it is our job to guide students through a difficult time in life, not to make it more difficult for them.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  47. john

    The only thing this guy is sorry for is the fact he got caught.. You canot change a persons core beliefs with a issue like the media it would have to be through a life changing event such as a racist being held prissoner with someone of color.. This giy is. A dirt bag and always will be .. Granted he has his right to his opinion. But only as long as he has nothing to do with the public.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  48. RussellFromTX

    Another shining example of freedom of speech is fine until you say something Libs don't like.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  49. Susan Haskins

    I want to know if he just resigned as vice president of the school board (big deal) or did he resign from the school board?

    October 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  50. ron

    My brother took his life this past March because he was gay. You folks have NO idea what it's like.

    October 29, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
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