The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Overturning McCarthyism in the CUNY System

The CUNY/Tony Kushner thunderstorm finally came to a halt yesterday. The City University of New York (CUNY) reversed a controversial decision to withhold the honorary degree from playwright Tony Kushner. If you’ve missed out on the debate, let mother Queerty will bring you up to speed.

On Monday, May 2, the City University of New York (CUNY) Board of Trustees decided to block Tony Kushner from receiving an honorary degree from John Jay College. Kushner is an openly gay playwright of great renown who continually pushes the socio-political envelope in provocative ways. He took home Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1993 for his play, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.

The brainless wonders on the CUNY Board of Trustees decided to deny Kushner the honorary degree not because of his no-holds-barred view on gay equality, but because his views on Israel were considered “extremist,” since he supports Palestinian statehood.

Kushner fought backwith a letter to Chairperson Benno Schmidt and the CUNY Board of Trustees illustrating the slanders and contextless quotes Trustee Jeffrey S. Weisenfeld delivered at the Trustee meeting. CUNY received numerous complaints (including an angry letter from Maya Angelou).

On May 5, the board announced that “The Board of Trustees is an independent board, and acted independently in exercising its judgment and authority. Mr. Kushner has indicated in published reports that even if the Board were to reconsider and approve the honorary degree, he would not accept it. The Board’s actions, however, should not be interpreted as reflecting on Mr. Kushner’s accomplishments and we regret any such misunderstanding.”

The next day, and just after the Public Theater opening of Kushner’s latest play, The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Chairperson Schmidt released a statement on the CUNY website asking the committee to reconsider their decision. Kushner made it known he would consider still accepting the award.

CUNY trustees met on Monday night to reverse the May 2 decision. Writer Michael Busch said in a Facebook post titled, Tony Kushner: Good Enough for a Pulitzer, but Not for City University NY?, that “I just spoke with Tony Kushner… and he tells us that he will be accepting his honorary degree from John Jay, and will speak at the commencement ceremony!”

Congratulations to Tony Kushner, the CUNY Community, and everyone who spoke up and called out Weisenfeld and the committee out on their initial decision. We hope Weisenfeld will be there to swallow his pride and introduce Tony at the John Jay graduation on June 3. If not, maybe he should consider penning his own letter of resignation.

Photo via New York Times

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  • backward

    Mr. Kushner was proud to claim that it would have been better if the State of Israel had never been created.

    What would the reaction have been if he had proclaimed that Palestine should never be created?


    Kushner said that the Jews are guilty of ethnic cleansing in the creation of Israel.

    Kushner has long been a leader in the worldwide boycott of Israel.

    He never once has suggested that any oppressive, homophobic, misogynist Muslim state should be boycotted.

    Only Israel which is the most pro-gay state in the Meditteranean region, most pro-women state, most democratic state.

    For this one state, the homeland of the Jewish people, he and other self-hating Jews reserve their venom.

  • Cam

    Apparently it wasn’t his views on Palestinian statehood, it was that somebody said that he had made statements he never actually made, or sometihng along those lines.

    Congrats to him! his play “Angels in America” is still an amazing piece of work!

  • Sam Wheat

    Huh? What? This guy is blatantly, openly anti-semitic, but cries “Homophobes!” when someone calls him out on it. Why is it that so many gay people seem to love dishing out the hate on people they disagree with (see: pretty much any comment ever posted on this site), but are completely indignant when someone shows prejudice against us? It’s not as if CUNY denied this dude his diploma — it was HONORARY, therefore nothing more than a meaningless piece of paper issued by a liberal institution. Jesus Christ, such whining.

  • David Ehrenstein

    @Sam Wheat: You are SO full of it. Does Jeffrey Weisenfeld have you on hispayroll?

    For those truly interested go directly to You Tube and take a gander at Weisenfeld’s speeches. He’s r right-wing hysteric of the Breitbart school, and a menace to serious people gay or straight everywhere.

  • Randy

    @Sam Wheat: This guys is a pompous windbag. He’s all if favor of socialism but I see that he is happy to collect all the royalties on his plays. Perhaps he should forgo all that money and donate it to The People.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Sam Wheat

    @Cam: Ummm, you can just Google “Tony Kushner Palestine” and come up with hundreds of hits, but I’m sure you’ll find a conspiracy there, as well. Look, he’s entitled to his opinion, we all are, but what’s maddening is the hypocrisy in how passionately you’ll defend him just because you’re both gay, yet if he were a church-going married man, you’d be cheering on CUNY for beating down a racist pig. Somehow, I’m pretty sure that guys (girls?) like you would be jumping on the Gacy or Dahmer bandwagon if those guys were around today, just because you had your sexuality in common with them. And that’s a shame.

  • gregger

    @Sam Wheat: you’re still out of your mind to call a Jewish man anti-semetic. That’s actually like calling an Arab anti-semetic.

  • Sam Wheat

    @gregger: What a stupid statement. Arabs ARE anti-semitic, in case you’ve been sleeping through the whole middle-east conflict. Muslims HATE Jews. And if you think a Jew isn’t capable of condemning other Jews, you’re just naive. Look at heterosexual white liberal men: They thrive on bashing their own kind relentlessly (if you don’t believe that, you’ve apparantly never watched MSNBC).

  • Cam

    @Sam Wheat:


    Greggor’s comment was because Arabs and Jews both are lebled as “Semetic People”. So for an Arab to be an “Anti-Semite” he would also have to hate Arabs.

    That is what his comment was referencing, but apparently you go to school in Texas where they take most of the informational sections of the textbooks out to replace with articles on “Creationism”.

    So while an Arab can be Anti-Jewish, they are typically not labled “Anti Semetic”.

  • gregger

    @Sam Wheat: You have to be one of the most ignorant and backward trolls the world has ever spewed forth.

    Get an education, a pair of glasses, and maybe some psychotropic drugs because your rants are delusional, you opinions are uninformed, and your view of the Republican party is that of someone who is legally blind.

    For your educational purposes,



    Have a good day TROLL!

  • gregger

    @Cam: Thank you!!!

Comments are closed.