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U.K. 'Gay Times' editor suspended for offensive tweets against the community

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Editor's note: Trigger warning: the following article contains coarse language and some may find the material offensive. 

As if LGBT publications don’t already have enough to contend with outside the community (we are all we have in the media), comes news that U.K.'s LGBT powerhouse Gay Times' new editor, Josh Rivers -- a person who they thought would steer the publication into a more unified direction -- has a not-so-accepting social media past. 

BuzzFeed was excited to talk to Rivers, an African American journalist about his new role. But in doing their research for the interview, they found some rather disturbing tweets he sent out tinged with racism and misogyny among other unsavory personal observations; some against the LGBT community itself. 

Here is one rather salient tweet about Jewish people:

“I wonder if they cast that guy as ‘The Jew’ because of that fucking ridiculously larger honker of a nose. It must be prosthetic. Must be.” He then goes on to quote the polarizing sitcom Family Guy: “Jews are gross. It’s the only religion with ‘ew’ in it.” 

Here’s another they found in which he describes Asian LGBT people:

“The creepiest gay men are short, old asian men with long nails. Fact.” He then mocked them in another, “Long day. How would I type that with Chinese accent? Wong way?”

Suddenly Rivers wasn’t looking like the objective, inclusive journalist Gay Times hoped he would be.

Here is what he tweeted about a woman:

“I’ve just seen a girl in the tightest white tank & lord help me if she’s not pregnant, she should be killed. #gross”

And lesbians from 2011:

“I hope that piece of machinery that asshole lesbian next door has been using since 8am cuts off her goddamn hand.” and, “So was getting geared up to watch Lip Service. Turns out it’s about lesbian dramas. DELETE.”

And transgender women:

“Look here, tranny. 1) you look like a crackhead 2) YOU’RE A TRANNY & 3) your wig doesn’t deserve a mention. Avert your eyes, honey.”

Settling in for an interview with Rivers, BuzzFeed first allows him to speak about how he will help the publication. Rivers is at-first excited to talk about his new job and the direction he will take. 

“It is incumbent upon those of us who hold positions of influence to make sure we’re using our platforms to speak to the multitude of experiences of our community. Whether that’s transgender, femme, nonbinary, it’s important we’re leading on those conversations and handing our platforms over to the people who are best placed to do that.”

He adds: “Representation has been a huge issue for me personally."

But BuzzFeed appears to blindside him by reading back some of the social media vitriol listed above, some he put out there as early as 2015.

“This is really hard to hear,” he responded, “I’m kind of stunned…” He pauses. “I think it shows an immaturity, a certain amount of self-loathing. I think it shows that before recently I hadn’t been aware of the effects that social media and using platforms in such a nasty and pernicious way had.” He continues, “it shows I have grown."

Rivers defends himself by saying that he has grown since those observations and has recently become politically aware:

“People go through the world mindlessly,” he says. “But I have woken up, I have changed, I have grown up… I have said things that are not kind or not nice and nor do they reflect the type of person that I have become.”

Despite his recent enlightenment and perhaps due to the BuzzFeed article Gay Times has suspended Rivers for now.

In a statement they say they are taking appropriate action: 

"Josh Rivers' past tweets do not align with the values of Gay Times, or any of our employees, in any capacity 

Josh has been suspended with immediate affect while we investigate the facts. Appropriate action will be taken in due course."

You can read the full BuzzFeed story and interview HERE.