May 1, 2012
As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker started cursing, attacked the Bible, and then called them "pansy assed" as they left the auditorium, Fox News reports. The speaker, Dan Savage, founder of the anti-bullying campaign "It Gets Better," was supposed to be delivering a speech on bullying to an audience of several thousand at the National High School Journalism Conference, but his speech quickly turned into "a pointed attack on Christian beliefs," said high school journalism adviser Rick Tuttle. "It became hostile." Tuttle said many of his students were offended by the speech -- which was laced with vulgarities and "sexual innuendo not appropriate for this age group" -- and some decided to leave the auditorium. As the teenagers were walking out, Tuttle said Savage heckled them and called them "pansy-assed." After a number of complaints about Savage's remarks, the event's sponsor, the National Scholastic Press Association, released a statement that said, "It is never the intent ... to let students get hurt during their time at our conventions," but did not offer any apologies. Savage offered a sarcastic apology "if I hurt anyone's feelings. ... But I have a right to defend myself and point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible." Tuttle said he "felt duped" by the event: "There were Christian schools who went to the conference. To have this happen was disappointing and shocking."