It’s been, like almost two months since the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery pulled the video work A Fire in My Belly, from the late NYC artist David Wojnarowicz, out of its Hide/Seek queer art exhibit. But only now has Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough, the organization’s chief who’s the target of resignation demands, come forward to discuss the controversy. And to show he is a simple man. “I still believe it was a right decision and I’m still proud that that exhibit is still up and thousands of people are coming and learning what we hoped they would learn from it,” says Clough in a sentence that runs on longer than most you see on this very website. “It was a difficult position for me personally because I have been a supporter of free speech everywhere I’ve gone, as well as gay rights, and to be perceived in some other light is a painful experience for me.” But at least Clough acknowledges the real reason he helped censor his own institution’s art show: budget concerns. With lawmakers leading the crusade against Wojnarowicz’s video, including new House Speaker John Boehner, Clough knows there will be “very difficult budget situations” in the coming months as Congress reviews how much taxpayer cash to give to the museum.

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