You might have thought the Trayvon Martin case was about race—that George Zimmerman thought the unarmed teenager was a criminal because he was black. Today, in certain corners of the Internet, you are wrong. It's Martin who was the true bigot. As Rush Limbaugh told listeners Tuesday, "Zimmerman got beat up because Trayvon thought he was gay."
In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on Monday night, Rachel Jeantel said she told Martin to run from George Zimmerman because he might be a rapist, during their phone call in the last minutes of Martin's life. "For every boy or every man who’s not that kind of way, seeing a grown man following them, would they be creeped out?" she said. This is not new. When Jeantel said the same thing in court in June, it didn't make much news—people were focused on her "creepy-ass cracker" description of Zimmerman instead of the rape angle. But now, it's the main story on the Drudge Report. Limbaugh spent a good part of his radio show talking about it. Lots of conservative blogs picked it up.
"JEANTEL WARNED ZIMMERMAN COULD BE GAY RAPIST" Drudge declared. "Jeantel opened up and let loose on the murder case that gripped that nation. She explained to CNN's Piers Morgan how she warned her childhood friend that Zimmerman—could be a gay rapist!" Drudge headlined Limbaugh's afternoon commentary. Limbaugh said:
RUSH: Do you understand, ladies and gentlemen, what she just said? Let me spell it out for you. When Trayvon described Zimmerman to her, "creepy ass cracka," she began to fear that Zimmerman was gay. A rapist. She then told Trayvon to run, run, run...
"For every boys, or every man, every who's not that kinda way," meaning everybody who's straight, "see a grown man following them, would they be creep out?" She's telling us the reason Trayvon Martin descended on Zimmerman and started pummeling him was because he was offended. He thought, because what she said to him, that Zimmerman was gay. Zimmerman got beat up because Trayvon thought he was gay.
Remarkably, the rape comment wasn't new to Limbaugh. In fact, he discussed it on his June 27 show —as evidence Jeantel was a liar. (Video of Jeantel's testimony at right.)
RUSH: ...[S]he said that she thought that the "creepy ass cracker" was going to rape Trayvon Martin. That's what she thought when this happened. She said, "That creepy ass cracker was gonna rape Trayvon Martin."
She's really having some problems with the truth on the witness stand. But it's impossible, folks, to say any more with juries after the OJ trial and so forth.
Get it? Only dummies like the O.J. Simpson jurors would believe such a thing. Of course, way back when, Martin was the true bigot for another reason. The headline on that June 27 segment? "Prosecution's Star Witness Says Trayvon Martin Called George Zimmerman a 'Creepy-Ass Cracker.'"
That Martin was the true bigot was the lesson many took from Tuesday's comments. "Trayvon didn’t run and instead attacked Zimmerman which means he was a homophobe or gay basher," the Right Scoop said. A sampling from Twitter:
So Trayvon was worried Zimmerman was a "gay rapist"? That's homophobia and profiling! http://t.co/rX700OOM4f— Taylor_NY (@NYPolJunkie) July 16, 2013
Wow. So according to Rachel Jenteal, Trayvon Martin was a violent homophobe who beat Zimmerman to send a message. Wow wow wow.— Matthew Vadum (@vadum) July 16, 2013
This is a fascinating example of how America has changed when it comes to talking about race. Almost everyone agrees that being a bigot is bad—except for, maybe, The Washington Post's Richard Cohen— and no one wants their "side" tagged as the bigoted one. Perhaps someday Rush Limbaugh will be a fully committed gay rights advocate! Not as part of his recurring argument that black people are always on the verge of violence, but because it's the right thing to do. Today is not that day.