Wingnuts Suggest Philly Derailment Happened Because Engineer May Have Been Gay

In the 48 hours since a horrific Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, a couple of prominent wingnuts have popped up to suggest that this disaster happened because engineer Brandon Bostian may have been gay.

Credit: CBS2
Credit: CBS2

First up–longtime right-wing provocateur Charles C. Johnson. After spending a good part of the day wondering if the engineer was black and had only been hired on account of his race, Johnson tweeted this:

Johnson claims to have been the first person to confirm Bostian’s identity. In truth, it was WPVI-TV in Philadelphia–they just spelled Bostian’s name wrong. A few minutes later, Johnson tweeted this:

Apparently Johnson got slammed for hyping Bostian’s supposed sexual orientation. If that’s the case, it was well deserved. What does Bostian’s orientation have to do with whether or not his actions responsible for the derailment? Johnson has spent most of the day plastering his Twitter feed with pictures of gay porn reportedly mined from Bostian’s social media feeds. That’s to be expected from a guy who found it acceptable to try to out “Jackie,” the University of Virginia student who claimed she had been gang-raped in 2012.

American Family Radio morning drive-time host Sandy Rios got into the act this morning. After mentioning Bostian’s history of gay rights activism, she thought that the prospect of Bostian being gay was something that “could be edited out.” She then suggested that when people go through “some confusion that has to do with the very core of who they are,” things like this can happen.

As an example, she cited an acquaintance of hers who is a commercial airline pilot. A few years ago, Rios said, the pilot was on hormone therapy while in the process of changing genders. He had an “emotional, angry outburst” that put a plane he was piloting at risk. Rios cautioned that she was not inferring that the derailment happened because Bostian was gay. But considering American Family Radio’s audience, that disclaimer is extremely disingenuous. Why even raise that question at all unless you were speaking in code? Then again, we’re talking about someone who thinks that borderline terroristic threats are “words of life.”

Regardless of whether or not Bostian’s actions caused this derailment, it is beyond despicable to suggest that his possible orientation played even a tiny role in this tragedy. Can you imagine if it had gotten out that Bostian was a hard-core Christianist and a liberal talk show host or blogger had suggested he’d been pushed to the boiling point by the apparent likelihood that the Supreme Court will decide in favor of marriage equality? They’d have been deservedly fired on the spot. What Johnson and Rios are doing is no less outrageous. Regardless of where you stand on gay rights and marriage equality, these two have gone several miles over the line.

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.