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. Michael

    Being from Arkansas, this makes us all look bad. Homophobic idiots live all over the world and I hope this man gets what he has coming to him. People always want to point to Islam as a hate fill religion, but we often ignore the hate that also comes from Christians. This is a sad day for Arkansas and our country.

    October 30, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  2. Debbie

    This school VP is completely outrageous for what he said. I'm straight and I don't agree with homosexuality but it is not okay to use the words he used and say what he said or even think what he thinks. It is ugly! Like Ellen Degeneres said, straight people need to call people like this man out! It's not enough for just the LGBT community to say this is wrong. EVERYONE needs to say this is wrong.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Jim

    I understand that this "bullying" platform has been built around children/teens who are homosexual, but heterosexual children are bullied as well and have been for years. So...when did it become so "terrible" and "such a platform" to fight against? I know of children 10-20 years ago who hung themselves in middle school bathrooms because they were taunted mercilessly for their clothing, their likes, their dislikes, etc. Let's please look at the real issue which is acceptance and tolerance of each OTHER...regardless of sexual orientation, race, class, etc.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  4. Michael

    Clint McCance epitomizes what is wrong in our country...hate of everything and everyone who is not white, American and upper and middle class. Anyone, any country or anything that is different we want to change and mold into our valuses. I am so tired of it. And while Clint McCance may have said the words, I don't think he apologized. He was truly and profoundly sorry that people found out who he really was though.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  5. Shana

    If someone cannot protect and fight for the rights of ALL children, they have no business in a position like this with schools at all! If this happened in our local school district, I would fight tooth and nail to have them removed. I feel sorry for anyone who is so ignorant. Yes, he does have a right to have his opinion but not to offend, insult or bully anyone due to his opinion.

    October 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  6. Liz

    Thank you Dr. Phil for calling it like it is. This is not a person who was a little awkward in his phrasing. This is a person with psychological problems. That apology was the equivalent of "I'm sorry the vile, hateful things I said hurt your feelings. I'm not sorry I said them." Which, by the way, is happening a lot more lately when public figures are called on their reprehensible statements.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  7. GJ

    Freedom of speach does not mean you have the right to spread hateful messages to young children who have not been able to make up their own minds as to what is right and wrong–as an educator. Facebook is not a private website, it is public information with so-called privacy settings but the fact is-anything you post on the Internet, is posted in a public forum and that now changes things. He should never be in the education system ever again. Not just because he was so hateful towards gays and wished suicide on gay children–but this man sounds like the type that would have to constantly put his foot in his mouth for even making such poor judgement. Not someone our education system needs.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  8. Scott in NYC

    Dr. Phil is right on every point. The bigot's comments were insanely hateful and even more pathetic, given being an elected official. He apologized only for the words used, not the message and clearly only because he was busted for his moronic, hateful, infantile and hideous comments. Then he whines about his family being unsafe. Hilarious.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  9. Kenny

    It was a opinion people live and let live would ya!!!!

    October 30, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  10. Carol

    Dr. Phil is right. I thought the the same thoughts he did when I heard the man from Ak. trying to be contrite. It wasn't an apology, it was an excuse for his contempt he vented on his facebook page. These were his true feelings. You can't change these forceful feelings overnite. I hope he trys to understand that words of hate kill some people. As a parent the thing that bothered me the most in his attempt to apologize was that he said he wouldn't know at this time how he would treat his children if they discovered they were homosexual. Your children should be able to know and feel that their parents will accept them with love no matter what.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  11. ken

    people uses religious belief as a justification to hate gay and lesbian individuals. Sad that people use god to hate others..not all people though but unfortunately some...

    October 30, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  12. Sylvia

    Dee and nicole – WELL said! Thank you for making a sensible response a reader can understand and appreciate.

    October 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  13. tim

    This is ridiculous....McCance has the right to say whatever he wants to say, as do the rest of us. It's that mans choice to feel the way he feels, as well as to express those feelings!!!

    October 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  14. Pete

    The man has no place in public service, he barely has a place in society...

    October 30, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  15. Elizabeth

    "I would never support suicide for any kids," - but I won't stop them.

    “I don't support bullying of any kids."– but I won't stop them.

    The only part of his remark which has a ring of truth to it is when he called his remarks ignorant.

    October 30, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  16. Deborah

    When a person says such hateful, horrible things you should not expect or even ask for an apology. This man obviously meant every word he wrote on his Facebook page. It is the rest of the population who has to make sure he never has a chance to be seen as a role model for any child or has a position where he can be seen as an authoritative figure. A man (or woman) does not change their stripes because of bad publicity.

    October 30, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  17. George

    I cherish freedom of speech; but there must be limits, such as "Fire in a crowded theater." It should also be illegal to yell "Jump" to a depressed person on a ledge.

    Soon there becomes a "gray area" – but for Clint McCance, a person of significant community position, expressing his "suicide opinion" on such a serious life issue is not gray area at all.

    McCance's (suicide)tampering with the minds of very vulnerable people, who struggle daily to maintain control of their lives, is as treacherous as tampering with the brakes or steering of someone's car.

    October 30, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  18. Blanchard McLeod

    Mr. McCance volunteered to appear on AC360. No one forced him to do so.

    He simply chose to use his national spotlight and 15 seconds of fame to continue to spread his bigotry and hatred.

    Like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he has absolutly no remorse others who disagree with his amoral beliefs. He is simply sorry that he got caught.

    When does he really expect to resign or does he believe this will all go away and he can continue to lead his student charges with his amoral beliefs??

    October 30, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  19. Robert

    Yes, you can have an opinion, no matter how ignorant others might see it. BUT, yes, you should have to apologize for your opinion if it hurts others when you voice it. Hate speech is not protected speech. When you are in a position of authority you don't speak for yourself, you are speaking for the organization you represent. His comments were bigoted, unenlightened, and unprofessional.

    October 30, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  20. A.J.

    I actually don't think any apology would suffice. This man has revealed the person he is and now he has to deal with it. He can either do some serious introspection and truly change or, more likely, he is just going to decide to be more careful of expressing his hate in the future.
    I'm so tired of hearing these public apologies that are so blatantly manipulative.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  21. howard

    His apology was bogus. What he said about gays was reprehensible and evil. If McCance is a Christian, it is of the redneck, white sheet and hood, skin head, neoNazi, variety. How can this man EVER hope to fairly represent public school children. I wouldn't let my own children within shouting distance of him much less attend the school district that he was elected to represent. Nor, would I locate a business in or near the community in which he lives.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  22. Clay

    I have never agreed with doctor Phil before but with this I must. With the wave of volence, anti-gay political movements in the election (see Tea party) and now this?! I am embarrassed that I served in the Army so I can "defend freedoms" such as this, I am ashamed to be American yet again.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  23. Mark Michaud

    This guy is NOT free to say what he thinks because he is a school teacher. His apology does not matter anyway as he is a hateful venom filled creature. Hate filled comments towards anyone is not acceptable period.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  24. donna tetreault

    this man sickens me, thank you Dr. Phil for calling out this disgusting excuse of a human being, again Dr. Phil for a job well done.
    Donna T. Pawcatuck CT

    October 30, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  25. Brian

    It doesn't matter wether you think homosexuality is right or wrong or wether you think this may was “just giving his opinion”, when you say something that basically means you'd be happy if gay kids killed themselves, you don't deserve to sit in ANY public office in this United States of America. This man deserves whatever consequences he has coming to him as a result of his hateful words. Can you imagine what would happen if this man said this about blacks or Christians? If he said this in front of me he'd sure enough get some hateful words back.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  26. Josh

    I think he's sorry just for getting called out on his comments too. But, in this great country of ours, we're allowed the luxury of being able to give our opinions about anything we want. This is just a good example of having some respect. I have opinions about all types of different things, but I'm careful as to whom I discuss them with. The issue here is this guy is an elected official and as such has a certain way he is supposed to act publically. I don't agree with what was said and the manner he used to say it, but it is his opinion, no matter how closed minded it is. His resignation seems like punishment enough since he's made himself quite public.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  27. Joy

    Everyone has the right to their opinions but it is just plain wrong to publicly voice that opinion if you know it is going to hurt people. Keep your hurtful opinions to yourself. To do otherwise only shows your lack of common sense and respect for people's feelings.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  28. Terrie

    Yes, everyone has the right to their opinion and yes said opinion may not be widely accepted but putting out there in a public forum such as facebook that someone should commit suicide is just wrong............
    homosexuality is just one of those things that not everyone is going to agree on. That is what is wrong in today's society, people cannot and will not agree to disagree. They think their opinion is the right one and noone else's matters.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  29. Diane Denton

    Dr. Phil is correct on his presception of this guy.

    I need to say that this guy's religion is his own made up one.

    Christianity is about unconditional love, it is about turning the self righteuous mindset upside down.

    It is a shame that he would use the word christian in the context of his interview. He is clearly screwed up with is thinking.

    Unfortanetly christianity gets a bad name because of someone like him.

    There are so many like him too. Especially if you look at the midwest, Arkansas and south. It is sad to say.

    The God I know would condemn such as this self righteous man as claimed.

    October 30, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  30. Linda

    For of all of you defending "opinions," and the right to have them on Facebook, I work for a private company, and people have been fired for stating stupid things on Facebook. Wake up to the new millennium. Companies expect their employees to show judgment when something is blasted into the internet, and this guy is a PUBLIC figure whose remarks could have caused a CHILD to kill himself. BIGOTS, just go away!

    October 30, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  31. Denis H

    That was no apology. It was regret that he got caught. Proof was his comment about his children if they were gay, what would he do?

    October 30, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  32. Kim

    That makes me sad. As Christians the rule of thumb is hate the sin, but love the sinner. I can't imagine any God asking us to shame children into killing themselves. That's like telling black people to kill themselves, or blond children to kill themselves. And as a public education official, I would have to question this person's capability of being impartial and actually enhance children's school experience if he hates them. Now his comments have affected not only those that read his comments, but his family now has to suffer because of a lack of employment, and respect. Shame on him.

    October 30, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  33. Donna

    I can't believe people like this monster still exist. To have that much hate represents a much bigger problem. I feel sorry for his family especially his children having to grow up with this kind of mentality. He was right to resign. There was no real apology because he is not sorry. I hope he gets the help he needs so desperately.

    October 30, 2010 at 9:37 am |
  34. jan

    The only thing this guy is sorry for is that he got caught and had to resign from his job. (Thank goodness) We certainly don't need people like him in any position having to do with our children. Yes, he is entitled to his opinions, but when they turn so hateful he should have enough decency to keep his opinions to himself.

    October 30, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  35. Tom in PA

    How can anyone defend this Arkansas official?!? I am glad, as a 50+ year old man, that bullying is finally getting the press it should. It is wrong whether you are a 10 year old kid or a 70 year old adult. It is wrong and should be shown to be exactly what it is... It's time to stop the bullying!!!

    October 30, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  36. Billy Heddin

    Clint has every right to say and feel any way he wants to about anything. Now, he messed up when he made his opinions too public. That has caused him greif in his life, changed his method of income for his family, and, I'm sure it caused some of his friends to come to dislike him. SO, he has no obligation to opoligize about anyhing. Now, what could be the payback in this sitiuation, is his kids turn out to be gay. He just should have kept his opinions to himself. Heck, I keep my mouth shut about these things. Makes life much easier.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  37. Freddy

    Whether you think it is right or wrong to believe what this guy said is irrelevant. This is America and people have the right to their religious beliefs and opinions.

    Dr Phil has the right to believe what he wants, but does NOT have the right to tell others what They believe is right and wrong.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:47 am |

    This man did not make an apology at all. I am raising my children to stand against such hatred. Therefore, the last thing I need is for someone in a school district to be spewing such negativity. If everyone focused on whats going on in their own homes, we'd all be better off.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  39. dorothy from KS

    I agree with Dr. Phil, it is a "non-apology". Been there had that happen! It's not an opinion, it's hate! Hate seems to be okay in this world today.
    I'm sorry he chooses to use the bible as a source to perpetuate his hate.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  40. raymond

    Your opinion is your opinion. You shouldn't have to change it, because other people disagree with you. I have more respect for a person who stands by their convictions, than someone who goes with th flow, and has no thoughts of their own. I might not agree with him, but he is entitled ho have an opinion

    October 30, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  41. Jim

    Don't forget we live in a country of free speach which includes thinks we may or many not like. Free speach is for everyone from the President to every little worker in the US. Free speach is for anyone with any job!

    Again we may not like it, it can be terrible, it can cause us to dislike the speach and the speaker but it's still their right.

    Everyone get over it, it's terrible, I don't like it but respect the right for anyone to say anything. I also don't expect ANYONE to lose their job over their right to speach!!!!!

    October 30, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  42. Mark

    Time will tell, but a tiger doesn't change his strips often. I believe he will just go underground. I would love to be at his gatherings with friends and family. My bet is that the expression of his honest thoughts goes far beyond what he said on FaceBook.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  43. Morgan


    If you feel dirty for defending the guy, maybe defending him is the wrong thing to do?

    October 30, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  44. Terry from West Texas

    This was a child's apology. "I'm sorry I got in trouble. I'm sorry everyone is mad at me. I wish I hadn't done it. I'll say I'm sorry so everyone will stop being angry with me."

    His hatred of homosexuals is still intact. He is still a mean-spirited little man.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  45. oscar

    Clint's apology was within his comfort zone also these statement were made before with out any reprimand.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  46. DavidMichael

    If you bully a bully, it's still bullying. While we may not agree, Clint has the right to his opinion and need not apologize for it. He does need to apologize for his actions which were offensive and which he did indeed apologize.

    October 30, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  47. Jeff

    This issue is far less about homosexuality and more about how such a disturbed individual was ever elected to the school board?

    I'm sure he has some similar "opinions" about other races, religions, or issues. To put it bluntly..."he's not right in the head".

    So, my question to those in that school district AND to the other board members is how this guy was ever elected to that board? How did they let such a deranged individual on the board?

    THAT is the real story here.

    October 30, 2010 at 7:57 am |
  48. Kim

    I feel sad for the man's kids. What does this do to a kid to know that your father would disown you for any reason? His love is very conditional and that's terrible for any kid to hear.

    October 30, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  49. John

    I have to agree, the comments he made may be ignorant, yet, he has every right in the world to make then, AND, he doesn't have to apologize for them. He, in no way, advocated discriminating against any group of people, nor did he say that he does... what, then, does he have to apologize for? Freedom of speech doesn't apply to only those things that we want to hear, its to protect those that you don't want to hear. Now, as is the case here, that opinion cost him his job, thats fine, but he shouldn't have to apologize for an opinion.

    October 30, 2010 at 7:24 am |
  50. nate

    WOW Gary you are awesome!!!!!!!!! I would love to be you. I guess your vision of "freedom of speech" is much different than the rest of normal society.

    October 30, 2010 at 6:25 am |
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