An interaction between Anthony Weiner and a voter reported by the Washington Post has sparked criticism of the candidate for what some are seeing as a non-response by Weiner when the voter used a homophobic slur to refer to his mayoral opponent, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Weiner reported asked an elderly woman if she was a registered Democrat and she confirmed that she is and added, "And I'm not voting for uh, what's her name? The dyke."
Weiner's initial response reportedly was: "Okay. I just need you to sign this petition to get me on the ballot," until he noticed the "incredulous reaction of a reporter."
"And you really shouldn't talk that way about people," he reportedly added.
The woman reportedly apologized, to which Weiner responded, "That's okay. It's not your fault."
Two of Quinn's strongest supporters, State Senator Brad Hoylman and State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, both openly gay state politicians, released a joint statement chastising Weiner for his "completely inappropriate and extremely alarming" response.
"There is nothing 'okay' about homophobia and it's never 'okay' to condone bias-based slurs or hate speech of any kind," they said in the statement of Weiner, who the Post noted "makes it a point to relate to everyone."
"The voter's use of the term demonstrates the challenges women candidates and lesbians in particular face," they continued, "and Weiner's failure to swiftly and firmly condemn her language demonstrates his lack of moral courage."
Weiner's spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan, delivered an apology from him via her Twitter account, insisting that he "admonished the woman amid a loud crowd on a street corner."
"[I] by no means believe that anything about her comment was appropriate," he said. "If the impression is that I did, I apologize because behavior like this will absolutely not be tolerated in my administration."
According to Politicker, Quinn had steadfastly refused to comment on the issue, other than to say that Hoylman and Glick released their statement "of their own accord."
Speaking to reporters this morning, however, she said she had received a phone message from Weiner, Politicker reported.
"I was grateful in the message that he clarified the interaction,” Quinn reportedly said. “I think it is incredibly important for all New Yorkers–but particularly those in public life–to make very clear that in this city, the most diverse city in the world, in the city where the LGBT civil rights movement was born, that that type of language cannot be tolerated.”
Quinn has emphasized the city's history with the gay rights movement frequently in recent weeks, particularly in light of a recent uptick in anti-gay hate crimes, including a particularly gruesome murder in the West Village.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat