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Here's why Conor McGregor's apology for using a homophobic slur is not good enough

McGregor recorded an apology for this week’s Late Late Show.
Oct 31st 2017, 6:56 PM 20,967 19

Mayweahter -McGregor- FIGHT NIGHT PC Source: Gene Blevins

RECENTLY A VIDEO emerged that showed Conor McGregor repeatedly using a homophobic slur.

The video and the debate that ensued afterwards caused needless upset for people who have been affected by homophobia.

Plenty of straight Irish people called into radio stations insisting that the word ‘faggot’ isn’t homophobic and that it’s a regularly used insult in Ireland. The funny thing is, it isn’t really up to straight people to decide what is or isn’t homophobic.

It may be regularly used, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not extremely offensive and deeply homophobic. It just means that homophobia is a casual part of Irish culture.

UFC - Fight Night Boston - Conor McGregor v Dennis Siver - TD Garden Source: Kelvin Ma

It’s widely accepted that the word ‘faggot’ is homophobic, and the insistence that it has another meaning in Ireland comes from a place of privilege and complete obliviousness to the very real homophobia that people face in this country. The legalisation of same-sex marriage two years ago didn’t magically eradicate homophobia overnight.

Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor Press Conference - SSE Arena Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Of course loads of LGBTQ people feel a lot more comfortable in Ireland following the marriage referendum, but plenty still don’t. Old problems that LGBTQ people faced still exist. As well as this, a whole new set of problems have arisen following the marriage referendum.

Gay marriage referendum Source: PA Archive/PA Images

One of these problems is the unwillingness for people to acknowledge homophobia’s existence. It can now easily be dismissed. “How can I be homophobic? I voted ‘yes’ in the marriage referendum.”

Just because you put an ‘X’ in a box two-and-a-half years ago doesn’t mean that you’re immune to being called out for your actions or for using homophobic slurs. It doesn’t mean that you can no longer make LGBTQ people uncomfortable.

In a prerecorded interview from this week’s Late Late Show, McGregor gives a pretty unsatisfactory apology for using the slur.

PastedImage-64575 Source: RTÉ

Had it not been for Kevin Spacey, McGregor would have won ‘Worst Celeb Apology of the Week’ for this one.

The MMA fighter begins by inexplicably talking about something he calls ‘brain health’ before attempting to justify his use of the word ‘faggot’.

I said what I said and I meant no disrespect to nobody… of any… the LGBT… I didn’t mean no disrespect… You’d swear I was talking about… Or screaming at two people of the same sex kissing.

Two people being screamed at for kissing is not the only legitimate form of homophobia, but anyway…

I campaigned. When we were trying to get same sex marriage legalised, I was campaigning for that.

If you’re wondering what McGregor’s ‘campaigning’ was, he posted one tweet about the marriage referendum three days before the voting date.

This is pretty insulting to people who lost family members and friends while campaigning during the referendum, and the people who were spat on in the street and abused while walking from door to door begging their neighbours to grant them basic rights.

All of the hard work put in and adversity faced by regular LGBTQ people going about their daily lives during this referendum is conveniently forgotten about now. It has all been reduced to an ‘X’ in a box that will be used as a virtue signal for decades to come.

Finally, McGregor ended his apology by suggesting that he’s not at fault.

Any chance they get, they love to throw me under the bus, so it is what it is. I’ll just say sorry for what I said and try to move on.

Being called out for something that you actually did isn’t really the same as being thrown under the bus.

Source: The Late Late Show/YouTube

This doesn’t exactly come off as sincerely apologetic. It’s a “sorry that you got offended” rather than “I never should have used that word.”

After Mayweather had to publicly apologise for using the word ‘faggot’ in the run-up to his fight with Conor McGregor, McGregor should be well aware that this isn’t something that people view as a casual insult. The people who do view this as a casual every day insult are people who are totally ignorant of the experiences that LGBTQ people have.

If you’re contorting yourself all sorts of ways to defend McGregor’s use of this word, just ask yourself why. There are so many words that could have been used by Conor instead.

Why are you so eager to be allowed to use a word that is particularly offensive to a marginalised group of people? Could it be that you, are in fact, homophobic? Nah, surely not. Sure, didn’t you vote yes a few years ago?

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Kelly Earley


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