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What If It Turns Out Empire State Building Shooter Jeffrey Johnson Was Gay?

What you’re about to read is (mostly) conjecture and traffics in stereotypes. If you’re offended or confused by that, well, we have a slideshow of boys frolicking poolside you can check out.

When we heard someone had started firing their pistol outside the Empire State Building, just 12 blocks from where literary masterpieces pour forth from our fingers, we first thought it was  a psychotic on a shooting spree. (After all, terrorists usually prefer bombs.)

But when we heard that the man who walked up and killed his ex-boss in cold blood this morning worked in fashion—and the papers didn’t mention a wife—our mind went to a whole different place: What if the gunman was gay?

There hasn’t been any concrete evidence Jeffrey Johnson, 58, was a homosexual—no lover, friends or bartender have stepped forward. But when you grew up, like we did, seeing gay people reduced to short-hand stereotypes—fiftysomething, unmarried, designed women’s accessories—your thoughts just drift in a certain direction.  Local outlets even referred to Johnson with baited terms like “slight-framed,” and “subdued.”

And, well, he owned a cat. (We told you this wasn’t going to be politically correct.)

Chatting with our best girlfriend, who lives a stone’s throw from the ESB on 30th and Park, we found he had the same thought: “People will think it’s the start of a gay shooting-spree epidemic!”

Never mind that Johnson only shot one person, his boss. (The rest of the bullets were fired by trigger-happy members of the NYPD).

Of course, it’s not really about whether Johnson was gay or not—is certainly doesn’t matter to the family of his victim, Steve Ercolino. It’s about how, if he was, his sexuality will be used to drive the narrative. If Johnson was indeed a fiend of Dorothy, will that give fuel to the FRC and their ilk, who can now brand us as violent in addition to crazy and evil? Or might it make them think twice about pissing off an angry queen?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Photos: MySpace, jonraewan

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    • Larkin

      “Fiend of Dorothy”… lolz

      Aug 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      So now Queerty is not only ignoring reporting on attacks against the gay community and reporting people who make the gay community look bad, they are now inventing stories to tar and feather the gay community.

      But you know Dan, nice try to claim that anybody who notices that should go look at pictures of frolicking boys.

      So in one fell swoop you both admitted you knew what you were doing with this story, but you also insulted your own website.

      Well played Dan, Well Played.

      Aug 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joe Dalmas

      Guys, you HAVE GOT to learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”, “”there” and “their”, etc. I love your articles but, for God’s sake, get your writing right. Hugs.

      Aug 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rockery

      LMAO!!! What if he is gay? What is this all about? I don’t get the point of this story

      Aug 24, 2012 at 8:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Red Meat

      Gay people can be psychotic criminals too? You don’t say?!

      Aug 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aidan8

      Help me understand how this article somehow helps avoid the FRC “driving the narrative.” Innuendo, speculation, talking with a friend “who lives in the area”…… really?

      Aug 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy

      Then homophobes will start the “them gays are murderous killers!” meme, and maybe it will teach the white gays commenting here why it’s as much of a meme, and not necessarily true, as the “them blacks are homophobic killers!” meme that is alive and well on these comment threads. Hopefully commenters will learn to stop stereotyping people based on their background, and start looking for real reasons behind the atrocities.
      When somebody does something like this, you don’t blame everyone who shares a minority status that they do, you blame the individual responsible!

      Aug 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • niles


      Aug 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gattsuru

      There’s been Freepers bringing up the possibility… to imply that an unemployed New York fashion designer might also have voted Democratic — queue surprised gasp. The information we have is very incomplete, but it tells a story of Office Space-stapler-dude, and that’s not really compelling in the media as a story about gay people.

      If the FRC want to play martyrs, they can cherry-pick stuff far more tailor-made for such than this, if only by benefit of extreme cherry-picking.

      Aug 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • randallreynolds

      Whether or not the shooter was gay, LGBT Humans deserve civil rights.

      Aug 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • pac6395

      If he was gay and they try to pin down this fact on “angry homosexual” and make the LGBT community look bad we could just bring up the fact that look at the past few shootings in the las month. All done by heterosexuals. End of point.

      Aug 24, 2012 at 11:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Eric Auerbach

      Totally off-topic: Love the new look, but if you *really* want to take the page to the next level, you should (a) allow edits in the comments, and (b) allow likes.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 12:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Burlington

      ” Friend of Dorothy “? Let’s hope not… It’s sad. A sad news for everyone. I’m tired, I’m sick of stories like this.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 5:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Neo

      As I have said before, one of the analytical and advertising tools used by Queerty is Outbrain, a right wing tech company with ties to the mormon church, their number one asset in the US is the fox news site.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 5:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rhino79

      He wasn’t gay. The designs on his website are of classic cars, girls on motorcycles, old airplanes, etc. Definitely just a lonely, weird straight dude, angry that the hunky Italian Stallion emasculated him. Meanwhile, hundreds are dying daily in Syria…

      Aug 25, 2012 at 7:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ncman

      Hey Queerty…. as usual you need a bit of editing. In this statement:

      “Chatting with our best girlfriend, who lives a stone’s throw from the ESB on 30th and Park, we found he had the same thought:”

      You got your pronoun a bit screwed up. If your best “girlfriend” a man? Or, have you just fallen in to the trap of using female references for gay men?

      Aug 25, 2012 at 7:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kit McCollum

      This post is just blatantly irresponsible and should be removed.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 9:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mulletkitty

      It’s perfectly acceptable to hypothesize, particularly to allow for discussion, as queers, of how to respond to the inevitable “gays gone wild” narrative that would have resulted had he been gay.

      But the details emerging — a nerdy manchild who overestimated his job talent, expected too high a salary for his mediocre skills, and was obsessed with drawing cartoons of buxom women, hot rod cars, and fighter jets — suggests this is not gonna be the case.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 10:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BJ McFrisky

      Ironic that the MSM hasn’t implied anything about Johnson’s sexuality, but leave it to Queerty to inject sexuality into the matter. If there’s any blowback toward the gay community for this, we’ll have Queerty and Dan Avery to thank for getting the ball rolling.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones

      I was excited when Queerty came back online. After reading this article, not so much.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 10:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nicoinnz

      Actually that’s what I thought too. Can’t help it! The loner, the cat, the visiting mummy. Although you forgot the vacuuming he did at breakfast time. So gay. Yep, the type A italian workplace hardass just got a little too much. Total clash of personalities couldn’t leave them at home for the better of the company. Sorry people but I loved the way this was written. You were warned and hey, poolside bimbos are on offer.

      Aug 25, 2012 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GeriHew

      Perhaps he was an occasional autosexual transvestite in the privacy of his own home.

      I don’t really feel his website offers that many clues as to the true nature of his sexuality.

      He may of course have had other websites that do.

      Aug 26, 2012 at 4:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alexoloughlin

      Assuming that he is gay is tantamount to saying all catholic priests might be gay because they’re not married and many are old. Even if the guy is gay, so what? Does anyone question the orientation of a straight murderer or rapist and is it relevant to the crime? Absurd notion, Queerty.

      Aug 26, 2012 at 10:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      Even if he was gay, so what? The police shot so many people that it’s become a police scandal, and will be remembered for that and nothing else.

      Aug 26, 2012 at 11:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MartinDK

      What is the point of this article? Using every imaginable incident as a context for speculating gays might be hated on is what…. Paranoia?
      Report the news or do features, please. That’s interesting to read. Conjecture and paranoia just sucks…

      Aug 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz


      As a long time member of Queerty whose comments are frequently moderated for defending my GLBT brothers and sisters, I am shocked and appalled by this editorial.

      Aug 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • esmale

      “Paper didn’t mentioned wife”…..means….gay???? totally disgusting.

      Aug 27, 2012 at 7:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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