In a shocking display of hate for any elected official, North Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson has gone on record saying he believes members of the LGBTQ community are “filth.” And now, other lawmakers in the state are saying it’s time for Robinson to go.
NBC News’ Jo Yurcaba has reported that “multiple North Carolina state representatives are demanding that Robinson, a Republican, resign” after a video surfaced showing him describing the LGBTQ community with the offensive term.
According to Yurcaba, “the video, first shared by Right Wing Watch, a project of the progressive advocacy group People For the American Way, shows Robinson speaking at the Asbury Baptist Church in Seagrove during a visit in June.”
In the video, Robinson is seen proclaiming to those in attendance, “I’m saying this now, and I’ve been saying it, and I don’t care who likes it: Those issues have no place in a school. There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality — any of that filth.”
He then doubled down, saying, “yes, I called it filth. And if you don’t like it that I called it filth, come see me, and I’ll explain it to you. It’s time for us to stop letting these children be abused in schools, and it’s not going to happen till the people of God stand up and demand different, same ones that established those schools, to begin with.”
After news of Robinson’s statement went public earlier this past week, Gov. Roy Cooper — the man whose seat Robinson would fill should he ever leave his position — came out in stark opposition to the language used by his second-in-command.
Cooper’s press secretary Jordan Monaghan sent NBC News a statement excoriating Robinson for his discriminatory and hate-filled views.
“North Carolina is a welcoming state where we value public education and the diversity of our people,” Monaghan said on behalf of Gov. Cooper. “It’s abhorrent to hear anyone, and especially an elected official, use hateful rhetoric that hurts people and our state’s reputation.”
A number of state senators also called for Robinson’s immediate removal from office. Among them was State Sen. Jeff Jackson, who represents North Carolina’s 37th District.
“There’s no debate here,” Jackson tweeted. “This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable. Mark Robinson should resign.”
North Carolina's Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson, just angrily referred to the LGBTQ community as "filth."
Then he says, "Yes, I called it filth."
There's no debate here. This is open discrimination. It is completely unacceptable.
Mark Robinson should resign. pic.twitter.com/rUhzXZm8Jd
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) October 7, 2021
Jackson also pointed out that this kind of blatant discrimination is part of a pattern for Robinson, adding a link in his tweet to a 2016 article about the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where the Lt. Gov. also made similar offensive and derogatory remarks.
According to the report by Cardinal & Pine’s Pat Moran, after the mass shooting that left 49 patrons at the LGBTQ nightclub dead, Robin wrote a dismissive and homophobic post on Facebook.
“First, let me say that I pray for the souls of all those killed, healing for all those wounded, and comfort for the family members of the terrorist shooting in Orlando,” Robinson wrote. “However, homosexuality is STILL an abominable sin, and I WILL NOT join in ‘celebrating gay pride,’ nor will I fly their sacrilegious flag on my page. Sorry if this offends anyone, but I’m not falling for the media/pop culture ‘okey-doke.’”
Another of Jackson’s colleagues, State Sen. Wiley Nickel, similarly called for Robinson to resign.
I agree with @JeffJacksonNC. Mark Robinson is a disgrace and an embarrassment to our state – he should resign immediately.
I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican elected official in our state. https://t.co/AckGzuIdA3
— Senator Wiley Nickel (@wileynickel) October 8, 2021
“I stand with the LGBTQ Community and hope you will join me in condemning this hate speech from the most senior Republican elected official in our state,” Nickel posted on Twitter.
Kendra Johnson, the executive director of Equality NC, an LGBTQ nonprofit, also responded to Robinson’s quotes, calling his hate-filled language “dangerous rhetoric.”
“At a time when LGBTQ people, especially those with multiple layers of marginalization, need a supportive state, Robinson offered transphobia and homophobia instead,” she told NBC News. “No one who thinks like this should be in a position of power, and these discriminatory attitudes underscore the need for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in North Carolina.”
Allison Scott, the director of impact and innovation at the LGBTQ advocacy group Campaign for Southern Equality, told Yurcaba that Robinson’s comments reminded her of the kinds of insults and hate members of the LGBTQ community regularly endured decades ago.
“They are shocking in their brazen homophobia and transphobia and are as unacceptable now as they were 10 years ago,” she said. “Our state has been on a journey, and more than a dozen cities and counties have successfully passed protections for LGBTQ people. It’s time for all North Carolinians to come on this journey toward a future where no one faces discrimination or harassment because of who they are.”
For his part, Robinson appears dead-set against apologizing for his comments. Instead, he went on record claiming he was “only talking about schooling” when he made those comments.
“Topics surrounding transgenderism and homosexuality should be discussed at home and not in public education,” said John Wesley Waugh, a spokesperson for Robinson. “We must focus on reading, writing and mathematics in North Carolina. Our students have struggled with these topics even before the pandemic. Our primary focus needs to be helping our students succeed, not on topics that should be discussed at home.”
But advocates say even that statement is, in itself, problematic.
According to Yurcaba, “one of the words [Robinson’s spokesperson Waugh] used — ‘transgenderism’ — was adopted by anti-transgender activists to make being transgender sound like a condition, according to the LGBTQ media advocacy group GLAAD.”