On the March 6 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Sean Hannity featured right-wing pundit Ann Coulter and Fox News contributor Pat Caddell to discuss Coulter's March 2 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in which she said she "can't really talk about" Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' " Hannity said, "Most of the speech was about humor. You were telling jokes the whole time here," and went on to discuss Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington, who recently sought counseling after using the slur. Coulter responded by saying, "[T]hat's, of course, what I was referring to, and I don't think there's anything offensive about any variation of faggy, faggotry, faggot, fag. It's a schoolyard taunt. It means -- it means wussy. It means, you know, Hillary giving a speech in a fake Southern drawl -- that's faggy. A trial lawyer who weeps before juries is faggy. Lifetime-type TV, faggy." Coulter then referred to the word "faggot" as "a totally excellent word."
In the same broadcast, Coulter referred to the conference as "a really fun, boisterous event," saying, "I whip up the crowd with fun speeches, and this was part of one." In response to Hannity's assertion that some people "view" the word faggot as "a taunt against the gay lifestyle," Coulter said that "no one thinks that's what I was saying." Caddell added: "The problem, Ann, is it's old English -- it's English, it's English, it's not American. It's -- you're absolutely right in the English context of the word."
On January 23, in response to the Isaiah Washington scandal, the weblog Think Progress noted that on the January 22 broadcast of CNN's Headline News, host Glenn Beck said the word "faggot" was nothing more than a "naughty name," and was "amaz[ed]" at The New York Times' refusal to print the word.
The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay and lesbian activism organization, issued a press release condemning Coulter's comments as "vile" and "disgusting," and CNN reported that "[a]t least three major companies want their ads pulled from Ann Coulter's Web site" following her March 2 remarks.
From the March 6 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
HANNITY: Ann, what a shock, involved in a controversy. The world is mesmerized by it. Well, first of all, I had an opportunity to speak to you yesterday, and then I spoke to you last night on Hannity & Colmes. I want you, in your own words, to explain what was going on at this event.
COULTER: Seven thousand right-wing news junkies every year -- I go every year, you go almost every year -- most of them college Republicans. And it's a really fun, boisterous event. I whip up the crowd with fun speeches, and this was -- this was part of one. You're going to play more of the speech, right?
HANNITY: Yeah, I think we have the other cut standing by here --
COULTER: In fact, you ought to just, you know, take off the last 20 minutes of the show and run the whole speech and question-and-answer.
HANNITY: Well --
COULTER: I think your listeners would enjoy that.
HANNITY: No, well, we played it last night on Hannity & Colmes, and you stuck up for gays and lesbians at a different point in the speech, and I'll get to that here in a second. But more specifically, what do you say -- most of the speech was about humor. You were telling jokes the whole time here. So for the context for those people who don't understand what this joke was about, there is a character, an actor by the name of Isaiah Washington, he's in the show Grey's Anatomy, which is a medical drama, and he had to go to rehab, or checked himself into rehab, after he used that word about a fellow actor.
COULTER: Right, and I suspect everyone listening to your show knows about that. I mean, I know -- well, I guess Pat is out in America now; you're primarily in New York City. I give a lot of speeches out in America, I frequently visit America, and Americans are pretty freaked out about somebody going to rehab for using a word, and that's of course what I was referring to. And I don't think there's anything offensive about any variation of faggy, faggotry, faggot, fag. It's a schoolyard taunt. It means -- it means wussy. It means, you know, Hillary giving a speech in a fake Southern drawl -- that's faggy. A trial lawyer who weeps before juries is faggy. Lifetime-type TV, faggy. Everyone understood I was not literally calling -- well, I was not calling -- well, for one thing, I wasn't calling John Edwards anything. That was the whole point. I couldn't talk about him, his life's work, his appeasement policies, his wimpiness on foreign policy, because that word is out of bounds. So, in point of fact, I called John Edwards nothing. I said I couldn't even discuss him because using any variation of that totally excellent word would send me into rehab.
HANNITY: Pat Caddell, your reaction?
CADDELL: Well, I -- you know -- you know, I'm used to -- well, I always like Ann's humor. It always drives people nuts. But, you know, the point is I didn't quite get the connection with John Edwards on the little clip. I got a better context when you did more of the speech. But hey, look, you know, the point of the matter is Ann is -- you know, what I can say to you, Ann, is that they're afraid of you. I wish everyone was afraid of me the way they will attack you. The -- boy, I'd be in business again.
HANNITY: Let me ask this, Ann, in this regard: If other people interpret that word differently -- so, for example, they view it, well, that's a taunt against the gay lifestyle. That's how they view it. And they're saying, all right, well, Ann Coulter is --
COULTER: Well, the thing is -- one is, yes, it can be used that way, I gather that's the way Isaiah Washington used it, That, I think, is an incorrect of the word -- use of the word. I still don't think you should be sent to rehab for it. But no one thinks that's what I was saying. I was talking about the Democrats, that I couldn't discuss them without using the word, everyone knows, and John Edwards particularly with the whole two Americas --
CADDELL: The problem, Ann, is it's old English -- it's English, it's English, it's not American. It's -- you're absolutely right in the English context of the word.