Crain v. Solmonese: This Time It’s Personal

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Things are heating up in the great gay battle between former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain and current HRC president Joe Solmonese. The feud’s been boiling for months now, bubbling over a few months ago when Crain criticized the monolithic and equally monotonous non-profit’s Dem-centric ways.

Well things got more ugly last week, when Crain used The San Francisco Bay Times to lob a few more insults at Joe and the gang. With regard to the Snickers ad, Crain wrote:

The Human Rights Campaign was quick to condemn the ads, although they ought to be busy protecting our interests on Pennsylvania Avenue, not Madison Avenue.

HRC chief Joe Solmonese was characteristically patronizing, chastising Mars for not “knowing better.”

He goes on to say that by jumping on the anti-gay band wagon, HRC and its ilk only further marginalize the gays. Not to be outdone, Solmonese has penned his own poison laced love note.

Using the same space as Crain, albeit one week later, Solmonese took on a decidedly different tone, both forming a defensive wall while trying to tear down Crain’s:

…Chris Crain, once again, misses the bigger picture.

The Human Rights Campaign and other gay rights organizations complained not about the ad that aired but about the online campaign which featured homophobic football players and alternative endings to the ad that depicted violence in reaction to two men kissing. The complaints raised were not exclusive to the original ad that aired during the Super Bowl. Chris would be more credible if he commented on the facts rather than contorting them to suit his clear manic biases.

[Crain] writes that HRC, “ought to be busy protecting our interests on Pennsylvania Avenue, not Madison Avenue.” Unfortunately, it is this “criticize for the sake of criticizing” mentality that shadows way too many of his columns. Does he not understand that our work to change hearts and minds in America is connected both politically and culturally?

When a major American corporation depicts in their advertisements, violence against gay people and reactions of homophobic football players, which many kids hold up as role models, then it is the responsibility of groups like HRC to stand up and demand change.

If Chris would stick to the facts, and not his personal motives, then his columns might be read with a little more credibility.

Giving Chris Crain a platform to spout his misguided rhetoric sets back the work of the entire movement. Criticism is fair game, but blatant misinformation causes disillusionment among members of our community and that isn’t just bad for HRC, it’s bad for all of us.

Wow! The claws come out.

If Solmonese’s so concerned with credibility, perhaps he and his should start talking to the men and women on the ground, rather than sitting pretty in their ivory tower.

Of the sissy squabble, blogger Michael Petrelis has a similar take on this sissy squabble. He writes:

In case no one has explained this to you yet, Joe, HRC does not equal the movement and I see nothing in Crain’s writing that is cause for disillusion.

The problem, as I see it, is that HRC and Solmonese believe they are above reproach and any criticism leveled against them is tantamount to betrayal, which is simply not the case.

Here are few recommendations for Solmonese and HRC: Start dealing honestly with the mounting valid complaints against your operations, develop a thicker skin and stop equating HRC as the entire movement.

Those are all great suggestions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Solmonese will listen. Perhaps a coup’s in order?