HRC’s Coordinated Media Rebuttal to Dan Choi + Get Equal Begins With Army Vet Jarrod Chlapowski’s Attack

Jarrod Chlapowski, the gay former Army specialist and Korean linguist, arrives in Newsweek lauding the Human Rights Campaign’s means of trying to push through a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal — an effort that’s turned up short every single year. It’s part of a well-orchestrated campaign from HRC to battle back against criticism, and it’d be beautiful were it not so transparent.

With most well-known gay blogs and independent activists calling out HRC for its gross missteps and irrelevance in federal lawmaking efforts, it was only a matter of time before HRC moved beyond Joe Solmonese’s email blasts to reassure donors it’s on the right path. And with Lt. Dan Choi abandoning HRC and teaming with in the most public of rebukes, and then assailing Solmonese & Co. in — yepNewsweek, it shouldn’t be too surprising to see someone like Chlapowski defend the group.

First, the necessary disclosures: Chlapowski, who left the Army in 2005, is HRC’s military consultant. (That’s him speaking earlier this month at HRC’s “virtual lobby day” for DADT.) Which means he acts as an official liaison for the group. And not to knock Chlapowski’s military service or efforts to repeal DADT (he helped lead the Servicemembers United’s Call To Duty Tour in 2006), but we fully expect him to make these sorts of statements countering Choi on HRC’s behalf: “[What Choi said about HRC] ignores the efforts of thousands of vets who are working hard every day to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Not all their work is quite as public as Dan’s last week, but it has a purpose and these people are just as invested as he is in repealing the law.”

He’s right. Much of HRC’s work occurs behind the scenes — so far behind the scenes that not even the White House or federal lawmakers are aware of it.

As for Choi saying HRC “betrayed him”? Chlapowski responds: “I don’t think that was fair. That was a spur-of-the moment action done by Dan. If he had approached them before the rally, then on-the-spot decisions would not have been made.”

Actually, it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment action. It was planned in advance.

(We do, however, appreciate Chlapowski giving more definitive answers than Solmonese, like about whether Choi’s stunt was helpful: “The majority of members of the defense community—vets and active-duty service members I’ve spoken with on these issues—have expressed displeasure at the use of the uniform in any activism. [Choi was wearing his uniform during the White House protest, as was former Capt. Jim Pietrangelo.] This is certainly not a tactic I would have chosen, and I’m not so sure this action was worth alienating the defense community. That said, there is room for all types of actions in this movement. And I think that, done strategically and in coordination with broader coalitions working on these issues, there is room for actions similar to what Dan and Captain Pietrangelo chose to do on the White House gates.”)

You should expect the media to eat up HRC’s story lines, including this one from Chlapowski, because HRC has trained reporters to treat them as the go-to gay rights organization. But as one connected source tells us, Chlapowski’s answers are “total bullshit,” and are just the beginning of HRC’s blitz to battle back against critics. In fact, HRC initially tried pressuring Chlapowski into signing his name to a statement that it wrote, attacking Choi, but he refused; the Newsweek piece was the compromise.

UPDATE: One HRC source tells us: “There is more coming,” and that leadership is for the moment “more concerned with” defending HRC’s reputation than anything else.

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  • MH

    Seems like they’d really help their reputation by getting some things done.

  • Jason

    Who is the guy with the dark hair standing way behind the main guy, immediately to his left but in the back row, our right? The one that looks like a fighter pilot?

  • GeoffM

    Do the minions at HRC listen to all the gay outrage over their ‘strategy’? Or do they just poll those around their vast board table in the conference room? Just curious because they don’t seem to listen to anyone except themselves.

  • Chandler in Las Vegas

    It’s nice to know that HRC has all of our interests at heart. As for me: Don’t ask, don’t give.

  • Goren

    HRC is using and abusing this young veteran to be the front person for their complete idiocy. HRC should know that we are smarter than to fall for this, but Jerrod should be smarter than to be the mouthpiece for HRCs self perpetuation.

  • edgyguy1426

    Of couse HRC is more concerned with its’ image than anything else because that’s where the $s begin and end.

  • Jason_UT

    Dan Choi is the new MLK. HRC is history.

  • jeffree

    So HRC is more worried about their REPUTATION than their results?

    Get out the box of kleennex and let’s have a good cry about their priorities, why not? Lets feel sorry that they lost control of their OWN event & got upstaged! My eyes r filling up with tears, dont ya know !!

    Oh wait, thats hay fever. Sorry Hrc.

    Instead of trying 2 criticise Lt. Choi’s actions, how about if they come up with some better strategies?

    that question is rhetorical, so no need 2 bash me…..

  • Daniel

    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a great organization working to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

  • W.

    If we’re making comparisons I’d say Dan was closer to a Rosa Parks/Malcolm X combination rather than a MLK. Malcolm was aggressive in his activisim and Rosa had determination both qualities I see in Dan.

  • Lanjier

    HRC is ineffective, because HRC is too closely aligned to the Democratic Party. The White House sets the order of priorities. It sets the agenda, but with consultation from Congress. Obama, Reid and Pelosi sit down and decide what goes first, then second then third. Well, where is gay rights on the agenda setting? Where is are repeals of DADT and DOMA on the list.


    WHY are these repeals on the bottom of the list?

    HRC and Joe Solomonese are why the repeals are on the bottom of the list. It is just like the fail in New Jersey. Here is the sellout deal that I suspect was made: You get your organization to support the president, and we will make sure the President gets DADT and DOMA repealed. Sounds great, right? But what happens if the Democratic Party loses one of the houses of Congress before Obama leaves office? It is deal off, right? RIGHT. Then the deal looks kind of risky.

    But what has HRC done? It has refused to say one word to pressure the Administration, even as every single Democratic Party supporter goes ahead of gay rights in line. Obama has even promised the illegal immigration community that they will get their civil rights BEFORE THE MIDTERMS. Totally outrageous, right? Civil rights for non-citizens ahead in line of civil rights for his most loyal voters, talkers, funders and obeyers!

    HRC is outraged at our “last in line” situation, right? WRONG. They agreed with it, and this deal is a bad deal. It has made the gay community the Cinderalla of the Democratic Party.

  • DR

    I said it before and I’ll say it again:

    The HRC represents the so-called gay “elite”, read “gays in powerful places” or, more importantly, “gays with money”. That’s it. Gone are the days when the HRC would travel around to small-town Pride events seeking volunteers, event planners, and activists. Now, if you can’t spring for some outrageously priced dinner party, the HRC doesn’t even know you exist.

  • Bussy

    I am surprised that everyone is refusing to say it as it is. I am. The honest, no bullshit, total fact is there is simply no real political and public support for LGBT issues.
    Let’s use the black civil rights was not until the FBI and a lot of top political bodies got involved that the movement got real quantifiable support. The people, blacks,white,jews got together to push civil rights not only for blacks but for every victimized racial minority.
    Today the gay movement does not have anywhere near the same level of assistance or even goodwill. As far as many pple are concerned, the LGBTs are a bunch of perverts and child molesters, who the govt and courts are trying to shove down our throats. A guy in my office actually is convinced that gays are pedos. He cites the catholic church sex abuse scandal as an example.
    The idea that anything that is not between two adult parties of the opposite sex is still a real problem for most people. No amount bully pulpit or anti religion attack is going to change things. I think religion has caused more harm than good, I really do.
    Gays need to keep working at the perception level of society about who they are. In that area u still have a fffffucking long way to go.

  • Jason_UT

    Okay, then Dan Choi is Malcolm X.

    “The common enemy is the white man.”

    – Malcolm X

    Then, Joe Solmonese is the “white man.”

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Well, since HRC is taking orders from straight Democratic strategists who don’t give a flip about gay rights and have decreed that nothing shall pass Congress before the November elections, I guess HRC has nothing better to do with its time and resources than launch a smear campaign against Dan Choi.

    As for Mr. Chlapowski, I suggest he agonize less about clothing and more about discrimination. He just permanently destroyed his credibility with me. It’s good to know going forward not to trust a word that comes out of his mouth because he’s just an empty mouthpiece for Solmonese.

    And, really, it is so typical of the superficial staff of HRC to release “Gold’s Gym” erotica with Chlapowski’s statements. This is about rights, not eye candy, HRC.

  • Adam

    @Bussy: The reason no one’s said it is because it’s actually not true. Polling indicates something on the order of 75% of Americans support the repeal of DADT. Isolated and anecdotal incidences of negativity aren’t really good representations of where the entire country is at.

  • Michael Noftzger

    Sorry to burst the bubble but Dan Choi is no Martin Luther King, he is someone who has done nothing but make a spectacle of himself and set us back in the fight against DADT. We fight to show that despite our sexual orientation we can do the job and do it well. Wearing a uniform to a political protest is against UCMJ and DOD policy. Lt Choi did a great disservice to himself, he will now be discharged for a legitimate reason and he did nothing but to alienate those in the military community who we are trying to show that LGBT soldiers are no different than any other soldiers. For those who relate to the uniform as a “piece of clothing” you obviously have not served or you would realize that it is so much more than that and what Dan Choi did was disrespectful to anyone who has ever worn it.

  • Jon

    Still don’t like you HRC. I am sick of elites. On the street activism works! Look at the Tea Party they get in the media ALL the time.

  • Philip

    HRC permanently lost me as a supporter when they sent that email blast saying that EVERY SINGLE lgbt item had been stripped out of the healthcare bill, but that we still needed to support it. When you throw your own people under the bus for a priorities of the President, I’m no longer willing to support you. They are worse than the democrats as they constantly just give up when the going gets tough. They spent all that time and money working to get these provisions in the bill, then stood by while they were systematically stripped out. Shame on the HRC.

  • Josh AZ

    Everyone is talking about the LGBT Community finally having a Leader: Dan Choi. Now we can follow someone and get what we’ve been fighting for all these years.

    Lead us to the “promised land” Dan. You need to give more speeches, like MLK. We have never had a leader, but because you made Newsweek’s Blog – you are the ONE.

    I will follow you, but I won’t wear fatigues. Sorry.

  • W.

    Dan Choi ROCKS! Finally an advocate who isn’t afraid to actually ADVOCATE!

  • David Milton Greer

    @Michael Noftzger:

    hey, joe, is that you?

  • Jason

    Dan is awesome!

  • Jason

    Dan and Jarrod should make a porno.

    They are both hot.

  • Lucas

    Jarrod is a complete tool. I’ve met him and read some of his pretentious ramblings and he’s nothing but a try-to-hard meathead who really, really, really wants to prove he has a brain. Really.

    His partner and head of Servicemembers United on the other hand, Alex, is really cool and seems to ‘get it’ when it comes to this whole struggle we’re going through. I was very impressed at him standing by Choi while Jarrod continues being the clueless lackey HRC so desperately needs.

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