TALLAHASSEE — On Sunday, Governor DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, tweeted that those opposed to HB 1557, the Don’t Say Gay bill, are “groomers,” implying that LGBTQ+ people are pedophiles.
The following statement is from Scott McCoy, interim deputy legal director for the SPLC Action Fund:
“It is despicable and shameful that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, would so grossly malign and defame an entire community to shove unpopular legislation forward. Although this false smear about Florida’s LGBTQ+ community is more of the same tired rhetoric, Pushaw’s choice of words was no accident. When you do not have any legitimate support for your policy position, you must rely on vicious and false ad hominem attacks.
“According to the Alliance for Children, grooming is defined as the ‘calculated and gradual process by which an offender sexually abuses a child. It is a horrifyingly planned and manipulative act that makes victims of sexual abuse feel complacent and adds an additional layer of protection for the offender.’
“Pushaw expects us to believe that her words were not meant to target, damage, or degrade the LGBTQ+ community by associating them with pedophilia.
“Tweeting from her personal account does not make slandering LGBTQ+ Floridians okay since she is still the official spokesperson for the DeSantis administration. Unsurprisingly, Pushaw’s tweet is just another dog whistle in ongoing efforts to demonize and erase the existence of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The DeSantis administration continues to prove that they have no shame and no intention of serving all Floridians. The SPLC Action calls on Pushaw to resign or Gov. DeSantis to fire her immediately for promoting dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric against LGBTQ+ Floridians. Allowing her to continue to represent this administration implies that the Governor endorses her words and actions. We also urge the Florida Senate to shelve this bill, as Pushaw just publicly demonstrated the bias it represents.”