Before becoming a prominent Fox News personality, Sean Hannity was fired from a local radio show for peddling a number of extremely disparaging smears about gay people, including the myth that gay men are prone to disease because they consume each other's feces during sex.
In his new book The Loudest Voice in the Room, New York magazine journalist Gabriel Sherman describes the start of Sean Hannity's career as a conservative radio personality, beginning with an hour-long morning call-in show at KCSB, the UC Santa Barbara college station. The short-lived show was canceled in 1989 after Hannity made a number of extreme anti-gay remarks during a segment featuring Gene Antonio, author of the book The AIDS Cover-up? The Real and Alarming Facts About AIDS. According to Sherman:
In April 1989, Hannity invited the virulent anti-gay activist Gene Antonio on the air to promote his already widely discredited book, The AIDS Cover-up? The Real and Alarming Facts About AIDS. A Lutheran minister without scientific training, Antonio peddled paranoid fictions about the epidemic. He wrote that the virus could be transmitted by sneezes and mosquito bites and that the Centers for Disease Control and the American Medical Association conspired to cover up the "truth."
At the opening of his hour-long interview, Hannity said: "I'm sick and tired of the media and the homosexual community preventing us from getting the true, accurate information about AIDS in this day." He went on to describe The AIDS Cover-up? as an "excellent book" that was "so full of facts" and added, "if you want the real truth about this deadly, deadly disease, he's not afraid to say what the homosexuals don't want you to hear." He gave his audience Antonio's mailing address, where they could order "autographed copies" and write to find out about "places where homosexuals can go for help if they want to change." [The Loudest Voice in the Room, pg 239]
Gay rights groups called for a boycott of the station following the segment, eventually convincing the station's management to take Hannity off the air in June for violating the school's non-discrimination policy.
Hannity, with the help of the Santa Babara and Los Angeles chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, launched a "free speech campaign" against the station and pressured the university to agree to reinstate his program. When the university refused to double the length and duration of his show, however, Hannity declined to return to as the program's host.
Though Hannity repeatedly denied being a homophobe during the interview, audio from the segment captures the current Fox News personality making a number of extremely disparaging and bigoted comments about the gay community and the spread of the AIDS virus.
Hannity: Gay People Are "Brainwashing" The Public About The AIDS Epidemic
HANNITY: There's sort of a brainwashing, if you want my opinion, going on, where they don't want the general public to get the true information about this disease. It seems like they're trying to hide the facts to keep the public from getting alarmed about it, because they're afraid, perhaps, of the backlash that they might receive, the homosexuals might receive. [KCSB, 4/4/89]
Hannity: People Who Have Gay Sex Are "Prone To Disease"
HANNITY: I just want to go into a little bit, in terms of the physical aspects, just so people know of what happens when you're a homosexual, why is that so prone to disease as it has been?
ANTONIO: OK, listen. When you engage in rectal sodomy, first of all, the rectum is designed to expel feces, not take in a penis. And so what happens is the body rebels against that.
ANTONIO: [C]learly the rectum is not a place for copulating. And the immune suppression which we have seen in the homosexual population is a direct result not only of other diseases such as Hepatitis and the parasitism, but of rectal sodomy.
HANNITY: Right. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity: Gay Sex Is Tantamount To "Playing In A Sewer"
HANNITY: What happens is, what [Antonio] was explaining is that the practices these people are engaged in is tantamount to, you know, playing in a sewer. And I hate to use strong language but that's the same thing. We have medical knowledge, we know that bacteria and all these things exist in this day and age. And we know, it's common sense you wouldn't let your child play over a sewer, would you? [KCSB, 4/4/89]
Hannity: Gay Men Get Sick Because They Engage In Fisting, "Gerbil Stuffing"
ANTONIO: [T]hey have had meetings, literally, of the SPCA, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Dallas and elsewhere around the country, because these homosexuals were cutting the claws off of gerbils, and prying their teeth out, and stuffing them up their rectums. It's called gerbil stuffing.
HANNITY: Oh, my God.
CALLER: I believe you. They're getting sick with it. Crazy.
ANTONIO: It's just this perversion. They don't know what to do. They're frantic in the search for a substitute woman. They put fists up the rectum.
HANNITY: And then they wonder why they have so many diseases, you know? I don't understand it. But they won't let you say that they have a disease. They won't let you say it's a gay disease and they won't let you examine the practices that have caused them, making them so susceptible to these diseases. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity Agrees That Gay Men Eat Each Other's Feces During Sex
ANTONIO: These men eat one another's fecal matter. And people say, "what are you talking, that is bizarre, what are you talking about?" This is called scat.
HANNITY: You just blew the whole audience out of Santa Barbara, I'll have you know.
ANTONIO: Well that is reality, though.
HANNITY: It is.
ANTONIO: If you pick up a copy of the homosexual magazines, they have advertisements for giving and receiving enemas. And these are not fringe magazines. These are the standard fare of the homosexual subculture ... It is a subculture of people engaging in deviant, twisted acts. So they literally will defecate in one another's mouth. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity: I Wouldn't Want A Gay Person Teaching My Kid
CALLER: I do not think that I would want a homosexual teaching my kid.
HANNITY: I wouldn't.
CALLER: Especially if my kid was an adolescent boy ... Do you think that they are not going to go with their natural inclination and be attracted to these young men? It just doesn't make sense.
HANNITY: See, but even it's an overwhelming spirit that says this is OK, you know what I'm saying? [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity Tells A Lesbian Mother "I Feel Sorry For Your Child"
CALLER: I have a son, OK? And I just gave birth to him about eight weeks ago, and I certainly hope that he doesn't grow up to be like you.
HANNITY: Artificial insemination. Aren't you married to a woman, by the way?
CALLER: Yes I am.
HANNITY: This lady just had a child. You know how they do that now?
ANTONIO: Yeah. Turkey baster babies.
HANNITY: Yeah, isn't that beautiful?
CALLER: Well that's also a really disgusting remark.
HANNITY: I feel sorry for your child. But do you want to make any more comments? [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity Agrees That Gay People Are Filled With Hatred, Bigotry, And Heterophobia
ANTONIO: I want to comment about this lesbian marriage and homosexual marriage.
HANNITY: Yeah, go ahead.
ANTONIO: Which just makes me want to throw up and I'm so sorry for these children, I've met some of them.
HANNITY: I can't believe we let this happen.
ANTONIO: Well, at any rate, if that becomes legalized, any church group which will not marry homosexual men together and lesbians together will lose their tax-exempt status, which is what they want. These homosexuals are filled with hatred and bigotry and anti-sexual heterophobia.
HANNITY: Right. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity: Homosexuality Is A "Lower Form Of Behavior"
HANNITY: I think anyone that believes, anyone listening to this show that believes homosexuality is just a normal lifestyle has been brainwashed. And it's very dangerous if we start accepting lower and lower forms of behavior as the normal. They try and equate homosexuality with the rights of, say, minorities. They try and group it in the same link, and it has nothing to do with it. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]
Hannity: "Disgusting" Gay Men Prey On "Young Runaways" Because They Want "A New Piece Of Meat"
ANTONIO: They love young bodies. That young firm body is the meat, the sine qua non of the homosexual subculture.
HANNITY: They want to corrupt all the youth of this country.
ANTONIO: That's exactly right. So they corrupt these--
HANNITY: These disgusting people, I can't stand it anymore. They're up in San Francisco, these young runaways that are so vulnerable, they have nothing, they're on the street, and these disgusting people, they just ruin kids' lives. You know? Because instead of helping them on the street, all they do is use their bodies. And as you said, when a new piece of meat gets on the market, that's the one that gets the highest price. That's the one they want. It's really sick. [KCSB, 4/4/89, emphasis added]