Anderson Cooper Takes Florida Attorney General To Task On-Air Over LGBTQ Statements

Anderson Cooper delivered a pair of notable CNN segments around the Orlando massacre. Cooper, one of journalism's most-recognizable gay figures, became visibly choked up when he was reading the names of the victims on CNN.

Then, in a cable news moment that will go down in history, Cooper took Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to task for what he called her hypocrisy regarding LGBTQ rights.

"I talked to people here not fans of yours who said that they thought you were being a hypocrite, that you for years have fought — you've basically gone after gay people…and said that in court that gay people, simply by fighting for marriage equality, were trying to do harm to the people of Florida, [and] to 'induce public harm,' I believe was the term you used in court,” Cooper said to Bondi on-air. “Do you really think you're a champion of the gay community?"

Bondi defended herself by saying that she was attempting to uphold the Florida Constitution. Cooper brought up her argument, in a May 2014 brief, that “disrupting Florida’s existing marriage laws would impose significant public harm.”

“But you argued that in court,” Cooper said.

She defended herself by comparing gay marriage to medical marijuana. A daring tactic, to be sure.

Cooper didn’t let her off that easily.

“The hotline that you’ve been talking about on television, which allows family members and spouses of the dead to get information, which is incredibly important, and I appreciate you talking about on the air,” Cooper said. “Had there been no gay marriage, no same-sex marriage, you do realize that spouses — there would be no spouses, that boyfriends and girlfriends of the dead would not be able to get information and would not be able to visit in the hospital here. Isn’t there a sick irony in that?”

We’ll include a final question.

“Is it hypocritical to portray yourself as a champion of the gay community when — I’m just reflecting what gay people told me — they don’t see you as this?” Cooper said. He continued, “It’s just that, I will say I have never really seen you talk about gays and lesbians and transgender people in a positive way until now.”

It’s really a remarkable piece of television interviewing. Surely, many will find the line of questioning cathartic. The entire interview is viewable below.


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