FOF #590 – The Hate Bug

Aug 14, 2007 · 1985 views

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One spring morning in Albany NY, art education grad student Erin Davies woke up to find her Volkswagen Beetle vandalized with the words “fAg” and “UR gAy” in red spray paint. Instead of removing the […]


  1. Matt says:

    Erin honey I feel your pain, I once had a vintage car. And somone drew a huge penis on the back window and wrote “Fag” and “I suck Cock” all over the galss of my car. I was so hurt and angry. I was discussted at how someone could do this to my car. But I didn’t do anything about it, I still drove it around and when I drove it to school the next day (it happened in my school parking lot) I left it there over lunch break and when I got back someone had keyed it and then wrote on it again with a sentence that read, “Why wont you wash it off? Arent you ashamed of yourself, you fag!”
    I never did wash it off, but eventually the rain and weather washed it all way because it wasn’t in spray paint only temporary window paint. I didn’t fix it because I wasn’t ashamed and was glad that by me not washing it off, it made the person that did do it feel like they had made no diference by slamming me with a sexist slur. I am proud of what your doing and just wanna say, “Go Gurl!! and FagBug rules!!!’

  2. michael says:

    Excellent show! Erin, you are a brave and strong woman! Your fight against hate crimes is so courageous and important for us all. Wishing you all the very best for your quest!
    I don´t understand the discussion about the authenticity of this incident. Even if it were not authentic, there are so many hate crimes that are… The impressive and great thing is her taking action (and the risk) and travelling across the country to invoke discussion and awareness.

  3. Mdvanii says:

    Scary, ruthless lesbian.

  4. Good Luck Tomorrow morning! How can we find out as soon as they announce that you are the winners of the GLBT award?

  5. How dare the alleged spray painter talk down to you Fausto “just a podcast” …. If Ronnie was there that man would have wished he was never born. Thx for what you guys do and Erin I cant wait to steal your documentary off bittorrent

  6. Cliff Dix says:

    Erin is a brave woman to do this. Going cross country exposing the truth that hate crimes happen everywhere. Even the most tolerant of places have idiots living there. Someone vandalized our house when I was a teenager. They smeared mud on our house spelling out, “ Sucks Dicks.” I was so humiliated. I was the first one who saw it and washed it off before my parents or sister ever found out. I also have never told anyone about it until today. I see now how important it is not to hide from this. Do not let them win. This is what gay pride really means!

  7. Erin is my personal hero right now!

    One late night in college my roommate walked in late and woke me up and was visibly shaken. Someone had written “Fags Live Here” on our door in huge blue letters. I was very upset and very pissed off because I was at an arts college and felt as if some ignorant straight asshole had infiltrated my positive, life-affirming, gay college experience. After we wiped it off, we heard voices we recognized behind the door say, “Oh shit! They erased it!” They were our old suite mates. That just confirmed it for me. I grabbed my aluminum bat; I threw my cute pajama bottoms on with little high heels on it, and walked down the hallway to our old suite. I confronted the guys swinging my aluminum bat like the crazy latin queen I am and threatening to bust some heads wide open if I even get a whiff of their ignorance. Lord knows I wanted to beat some ass for defacing my door. This fag wasn’t going to put up with that bullshit.

    Now, I think I should’ve left that on my door. I still would’ve beat some ass though!

  8. Buzz says:

    Great show today guys/gal!

    Erin’s got balls and ain’t afraid to show ’em!

    Proud of ya girl!

  9. Zara says:

    What a great show today! Erin’s great, she’s got guts for chosing to expose this rather than hide it! And surely it’s completely irrelevent whether or not she “made it up” (which I don’t think she has anyway)…because at the end of the day it’s addressing a issue that’s global. I don’t think anyone’s pointing the finger at Albany as a homophobic city at all. Will you update us on what happens with that guy you spoke to? We never did find out his name, did we?! x

  10. If you can pick five minutes from this episode to showcase on a radio program, which five minutes would you pick? Please indicate the time into the show. THANKS!

  11. I think it is great that you all called this guy who left the note on Erin’s car. I’ve been wanting to contact him myself. However, I think you should really rethink your perceived abilities to analyze handwriting. You might want to look at the photo again: — see his “y” with the straight line as opposed to the loopy y of the graffitti? And even though the As are capitalized, they are not the same. It is silly, unfair, and irresponsible to accuse this person of being the one who vandalized Erin’s car.

    I’d also like to clarify a statement Erin made on your show. I am one of the Albany-folk whom she refers to when she talk about those back home who are boycotting her. She makes it sound as though we stopped supporting her once she and her gf broke up, implying some causal link between the break-up and the removal of her support. This is inaccurate. Lack of support in Albany had been brewing long before the break-up.

  12. I just think it’s silly that the dude was upset about Erin’s supposed defaming of the Albany graffiti scene. Talk about trying to reframe a conversation… that’s a classic attempt to quite this loud voice by trying to frame it in a light that makes her efforts seem silly. If he doesn’t agree with her message, he should simply say that he doesn’t like her pro-gay agenda, not try to jab at her with meaningless and ultimately empty arguments.

  13. Superboy says:

    I agree that the guy you guys talked to on the phone seemed NOT to be the guy who would vandalize the car. But leave it up to the police to conduct their investigation and come up to a reasonable conclusion. Did he do it? I personally don’t think so, but then again, I’m not a cop. That’s why we have a legal system and the police, to protect the innocent until proven guilty. He is a suspect, but not because Erin says so, but because the police think so…

    That said….

    I’m glad that Erin is focusing her energy on talking to people from all walks of life and creating a powerful symbol against hate that we all can rally around.

    I think what Erin is doing is fabulous, and the nasty hateful lesbians who expend so much of their energy attacking her personally is awfull. What you have there is JEALOUSY, pure and simple. What is Erin getting out of this? What is she sacrificing? If she wanted to make money she would get a job doing something that pays well. Is she getting validation yes, but I’m sure she’s bearing the brunt of a lot of hate as well. Don’t give up Erin!

    Lazy people are by nature haters because they sit back and blame their problems on someone else and do nothing about it. If these miserable women spent even 1/4 of the energy they did fighting hate instead of inflicting it on others (and themselves as a community) the world would be in a MUCH MUCH better place.

    it’s really tragic that a lot of the negativity coming towards Erin is coming directly from her ex-girlfriends friends and her local lesbian community in Albany, who are probably biting their nails in envy. Erin is sacrificing everything just to make the world a better place and increase awareness, and all you are doing is knocking her down. You should seek therapy for your self-hatred.

    It is a testament to the genius of Erin and her friends that there are actual lesbians who would have the audacity to create “Stop the bug” sites. When others bash on you, it means you are striking a nerve. Hate comes from all sides, not just straight people.

    Boooo on you- yaaay on Erin!!!

  14. You go honey! Share your story and keep demonstrating that we still have work to do. This was a great show and I hope to one day see you back on the FOF to give us some updates!

  15. Lack of support in Albany had been brewing long before the break-up.

    Can you please give us some insight into why the lack of support had been brewing for a long time.

  16. Sure, no problem, Marc. The link provided in the above blog entry — this one: — provides a lot of insight from various people in the Albany area. In addition, my 2 pennies worth: Why boycott fagbug? *In theory*, I think that the idea of traveling across the country, opening up dialogue about hate crime is a good thing. I know hate crimes still occur, and I know that lots of people don’t want to admit that and/or look the other way; however I don’t see fagbug as being so much about hate crimes as being about a platform from which Erin can launch some kind of career (as documentary film maker, public speaker, reality TV show “star”, etc.) and profit-making scheme.

    I was initially impressed by Erin’s willingness to go public and get active with this, but as I’ve followed closely this whole fagbug idea, what I’ve seen is not so much an act of bravery as someone who is thrilled with the spotlight, who sees herself more as a celebrity than an activist (this I get from her blog).

    And speaking of her blog — it is not so much political commentary, which would really focus on fagbug/hate crime awareness as it is about every private detail of Erin’s life, relationship, quest for a TV deal, and so on.

    I also think there comes a point in many communities/minority groups when the funds and efforts get so divided up that they become ineffective. I feel the kind of money Erin plans on making (eventually) could go to resources both local and national. Her financial goals seem lucrative: $3/sticker and she wants to sell a million stickers? That is quite a profit, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere but in Erin’s pocket. I get that it takes money to make art and raise awareness, and I get that right now Erin is struggling, but I just see this “campaign” as having its sights set on something beyond art and activism.

    In addition to the questionable financial aspects of fagbug/Erin, is the question about the effectiveness (or not) of this “campaign.” Is fagbug really fighting hate crimes? Is it actively working to affect legislation? Is it offering support to other forms of hate crimes (those based on race, gender, diability, class, etc.)? Is it even acknowledging the diversity of hate crimes that take place?

    I know I am not alone in the Albany area in questioning Erin’s true intentions. This, however, is my take.

    As for all of those people who think that those of us who don’t support fagbug/erin are insanely jealous and wickedly hateful, I can’t speak for the others, but I will say that I will be the first to admit that I wouldn’t want to put my ass on the line and drive across the country in a car that has the word fag sprayed on it. I am fully aware of the fact that Erin is putting a lot of time and energy into this trip. If this alleged act of activism were being done by somebody whom I truly saw as an activist, rather than by somebody as scarily narcissistic and self-involved as Erin, then kudos to that person. Unfortunately, I can’t see Erin as a strong representative of these issues, and that has a lot less to do with jealousy and a lot more to do with her unfocused and questionable approach to this “campaign.”

  17. I am very proud of Erin, I think she is very courageous! Instead of being shamed, she is shaming those that would do something like this. I hope Fausto and Marc remain in contact with her, maybe getting periodic updates following her road trip, maybe a short call-in once a week or something. I would really like to see her documentary when it is completed.

    We create the world we want to live in with the choices we make for ourselves minute to minute. We choose pride over shame, happiness over misery, courage over fear, love over hate. These things don’t come from external sources, but from internal choices. Erin’s choices are making our world a more beautiful place. Even if the only result of this vandal’s actions was to spark the beautiful friendship between Erin and her new “southern mom,” it has added more love to the substance of our world, but we know it has done much more than that. Erin has turned the poison into the cure, or as Miss Ronnie would say, “She flipped that SH!T!”

    I went to college, and lived several years, in the Capital District (around Albany) and in my last of seven years in the area I lived in the Lark St. area (arts/entertainment/gay area) of Albany and those are my favorite memories of my entire time there (even if my beautiful apt. was a 4-story walk-up!). Albany is a wonderful town and if you ever find yourself there, be sure to check out the eclectic pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants and coffee shops in the Lark area, the lesbian bagel shop, all the beautiful historic brownstones, the park and it’s Summer festivals, the crazy architecture of the Empire State Plaza – it’s all gorgeous and very walkable. (There really is a parking problem though!)

    This kind of thing can happen anywhere, and Albany is not to be faulted for it. Moreover, to Albany’s credit, it has produced the new Erin! Good on Albany! Albany can much more easily be faulted for it’s cold gloomy Winters (Summers are gorgeous), or it’s limited opportunities for young people (but maybe that’s changed).

  18. In response to ihrtVTmtns, I see where you are coming from, but I think even you might be a bit harsh in your more moderate reaction. Doesn’t everyone have the right to try to earn a living and become successful in their chosen trade? And if that method spreads a message of tolerance at a grass-roots level at the same time, what’s wrong with that? Is that any worse than if she had repainted her car and done like so many other artists, creating a bunch of self-involved art that is being sold in so many galleries for pure profit? Would you fault Marc and Fausto for trying to turn a profit off of Feast of Fools? Would you fault the professionals who take a pay check from HRC, NGLTF or Lambda Legal? Would you fault Cindy Sheehan for becoming a celebrity because of the death of her son? Are people’s efforts only to be respected if they martyr themselves in the process? If everyone attempted to turn a profit off spreading the message of tolerace, would the net effect be so bad?

    If the outcome is net positive, then what’s the harm? Maybe we should be asking ourselves what we have done to try to change the world, instead of scrutinizing others’ efforts?

  19. Superboy says:

    So Vermont Mountain lover- activists should not seek out personal gain from their desire to change the world? That’s a messed up idea.

    The ONLY reason you hate Erin is because she wants to make a documentary and not crucify herself financially? When have you or any of the people who are organizing against Erin ever put yourselves out there at financial, physical harm or risk for your rights? You don’t even have the guts to tie your name to your opinion on this, instead you hide behind a fake name and profile on MySpace, while Erin stands out there in front of the world protected only by her faith and trust in humanity. I don’t blame you, I do the same thing. I’m in the closet about a lot of things just like you.

    Are you this critical about all other lesbian endeavors or are you just bashing your peer because she’s actually ACTING on her activism, doing something? Are you this critical on our current Presidential Administration? Did you start a Stop President Bush MySpace page? I doubt it.

    The idea that people who want to create social change should sacrifice themselves comes from our dysfunctional puritanical heritage and needs to stop. We don’t need any more martyrs.

    The fact that Rosa Parks died in poverty, a national hero, is a tragedy and shows how far we have to go as a society of embracing the people who drive us forward as a society.

    I hope Erin becomes a millionaire from selling her stickers. IF she does, it would motivate many people to stand up and speak their voices against the real injustices in our world. If you think your money would be better spent on other causes, then spend it there. How many CEO’s of advocacy groups, political organizations and lobbies make more than six figures and spend their days drinking champagne and working in air-conditioned offices? Yet you don’t see their jealous lesbian friends creating MySpaces to stop them.

    Erin OWES over $5000 in her efforts. She’s not making any money out of this, so far, and is only working her but off for pennies.

  20. Wow, this was such an exciting show! This is EXACTLY why you guys deserve the top podcast award. I got nervous in my seat when Fausto decided to call the man’s number! It was awesome.

    Erin is an incredibly courageous person and it makes me feel good to know that there are people like her out there in the world. As not only a big ol’ queen, but also a Volkswagen beetle owner, I’d have to say that I’m pretty inspired to put a huge rainbow sticker on my car. And buy another Feast of Fools t-shirt! Love ya, guys! Great show!

  21. I got this in an email. I formatted it in several paragraphs out of one large clunky paragraph to make it easier for you read. I hope I did a good job formatting it.

    I was given the heads up about your podcast with Erin Davies by a friend of mine, who is also an acquaintance of Erin’s, as are all the other folks that Erin mentioned on your show as being against her. First of all, I was extremely surprised and very disappointed that mine was the only link in your write-up of the podcast. It gives the impression that I am the only one with objections to Erin’s ’cause.’ I would ask that you please post other links, or remove mine, as it gives the impression that I am alone in my objections. There are at least 5 or 6 other folks who have changed their MySpace name to support Erin’s ex girlfriend, who is mentioned repeatedly in Erin’s Fagbug blog, as well as to call for some intelligent, independent thinking.

    Erin’s ex politely and kindly asked Erin to remove any mention of her from her blogs, but Erin refused, stating that it was all part of her experience, but what she fails to realize is that she’s violating her ex’s privacy and giving a very skewed impression of her, while making herself out to be the hero/victim of their relationship. This is biased and false and completely beside the point of Erin’s so-called cause, which so far has consisted exclusively of her traveling around the country in her vandalized vehicle and giving everyone a blow by blow account of her experience on her blog, often including completely irrelevant information that does not further her purported intention in any way.

    In your podcast, you give the impression that all of us in Albany have created some kind of counter movement to Fagbug. We have not. We are simply asking that before blindly supporting Fagbug, people learn to think critically and examine her intent and actions carefully and objectively before jumping on the bandwagon simply because it is a ‘GLBTQ thing,’ so we HAVE to support it. Erin asked why would she possibly have done this to her own car. The answer is notoriety. Erin is a filmmaker and an artist; this is what she wants to do with her life; this occurrence has worked in her favor; she is simply furthering her career. This is why she has embarked on this ‘crusade.’

    Though I cannot and will not say that Erin spray-painted her own car, I am not surprised that others may think so, and if it came to light that she actually did, I would not be surprised in the least. Please keep in mind that this opposition is coming from all LGBTQ folks, people in her own community, people that in some way or another, know her. We know the sorts of things she does not wish to advertise. Erin Davies is simply a filmmaker trying to further her career; nothing more, nothing less. If some good comes of her trip and campaign, I couldn’t be happier, but so far, I see no results besides experiences and footage exclusively for herself and her career. There is no call to action in her campaign, no constructive criticism of the deeply rooted and insidious patriarchal, sexist, racist, homophobic culture we live in or encouragement to contribute to other LGBTQ causes. In addition, Erin’s insinuation or implication that the individual who left her a note implying that she had vandalized her own car could indeed be the one who vandalized it, is unfounded and ridiculous.

    I also found your comparisons of her situation to Matthew Shepard’s tragic and untimely death by murder to be completely objectionable and in very poor taste. I myself am gay, have a diversity sticker on my car, and am a very outspoken member of the community who is out and proud to absolutely everyone, and I would want nothing more than to support an authentic LGBTQ cause, but sadly, I cannot give my support to Erin Davies due to her insincere motivations and lack of constructive criticism or solid, substantial call to action.

  22. Eric says:

    Well, I just finished it and I thought it was a nice new interview. I especially like how Fausto and Marc broke character saying how nervous they were after interviewing the note-writer. But in response to the actual grafitiing, I think that the matter of who did it (Erin, or some homophobic person) is now a mute point. It’s all about getting people’s reactions and I think she is doing a good job of that and I wish her well. So either way, whether a clever story to garner reactions or an actual vandalism I think that the good of getting the message of hate crimes out there is still apparent here and warrants people’s support.

  23. First, even if all of Erin’s critic’s possible claims were true, and the vandalism is a fraud, it still exposes a truth within our society that is real; the reactions and internal conflicts people are forced to examine when confronted by this symbol are real; the lives she is touching, and personal connections she is making with victims are real. I think there is a great proportion of the activist art community that would still support her project as valid even if the original storyline were manufactured. If you think the storyline is manufactured, then just think of it as performance art.

    Second, I have been posting on the indicated MySpace board as well, and my comments there are purely a product of reading the posts therein. There is plenty there to criticize without even getting into any possible faults on Erin’s part. I think if you are going to put yourself out there, create a blog, and call yourself “Boycot Fagbug”, you need to be prepared to defend your position without resorting to the defense of, “Well, I’m not the only one.”

    Third, I didn’t get the feeling there was any sort of mass indictment on Albany or here ex in the podcast, and if your problem is Erin’s characterization, or mention, of her ex in her blog, then say that. They may be upset about the one thing, and trying to stand up for their frined, the ex, but it really seems like they are piling on in an unwarranted manner with all of the other stuff. If you don’t like the blog, don’t read the frigging blog.

    Fourth, complaining about her writing in her blog how many fruit juices she drank? C’mon, just get over it! You know how much stupid, self-involved, pointless crap people put in their blogs, without including a shred of redeeming social value? Please! Some people who read blogs (I don’t read blogs) like that pointless crap because it humanizes the author. Poeple can sit there and say, “Oh, I drink too much fruit juice too!” What-ever.

    Fifth, maybe Erin is not as articulate, judicious or focused as you might like, but even if any of these flaws do exist, I thought she was delightful, and inspired a lot of people to be just a bit more brave in their daily lives.

  24. Here is just one more perspective from on fagbug as fraud — this was written by yet another Albany lesbian who has followed the fagbug story since the incident first occured:

    As you may well know, there’s been a great hullaballoo about FagBug both locally and nationally, as Erin Davies drives her car on a cross country trip attempting to “create a dialogue about hate crimes.”

    Many have supported this cause, and Erin has been featured on local news, national radio shows, and has had her story told in many LGBT magazines. She has rallied supporters, all of whom believe in the eradication of homophobia, but who do not really know her background, or where her “movement” started.

    While I agree that some awareness about hate crimes will come from Erin’s resolve to drive her car around town with epithets on it, I do not think Erin Davies is an activist. I think she is a filmmaker on a quest to extend her fifteen minutes of fame into an hour and fifteen minutes.

    I find her blog to be the greatest evidence of the extremely narcissistic and self-important nature of her “cause.” Anyone more concerned with broadcasting their menstruation, the gritty (albeit extremely one-sided) details of her relationship, and what she had for breakfast, is clearly not well-versed enough in any cause (other than her own) to claim that she represents it. While I have found a few gems on her blog (her questioning of a middle school boy who told the teacher his painting looked “gay,” for example), the rest of her incoherent rambling seems a regurgitation of what others have said about her without truly knowing or understanding of the foundations of her cause.

    In between self-indulgent pats on the back (comparing herself to great Civil Rights leaders such as MLK and Rosa Parks), and lavish praise for the ways in which she has helped inspire people, Erin, in clumsy prose, devotes much of her blog to self-righteously defending herself in any way that she can against criticism (usually through slanted attacks and unfounded claims that naysayers are doing nothing for the community). Ask yourself, why devote so much time and energy to bashing the rights of others to have their own opinions if you truly believe in yourself and your actions as noble?

    Activism is not a business. It is not something to be profited from. Stickers, fundraisers, t-shirts, book deals, and reality TV are not indicative of an activist, truly committed to LGBT work, bur rather someone concerned with advancing only one cause: her own. In my perspective, her willingness and eagerness to profit from this (whether monetarily or simply by basking in the glory of the spotlight) is deplorable, and really cheapens the efforts of other people who are TRULY working for change, with completely altruistic motives.

    Comparing herself and her efforts to those of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. would be horrific and extremely offensive if it weren’t so laughable.

    Erin Davies is a filmmaker seeking to advance her career through television appearances, books deals, national endorsements and the like. As the buzz about her last film has died down, it was time to find new material. And while I will not comfortably comform to the opinion that many have that she spray painted her own car to provide herself with material, I can understand why people might think so.

    She has stated that if she profits from all of this in the end, then good for her, she deserves it, she really put herself on the line. And while I agree that driving around with the word fag next to your head cannot be easy, Erin has clearly weighed the benefits and consequences of her actions, with her quest for fame being the determining factor.

    I think it’s a shame that someone who is so concerned with kicking off her merchandise has declared herself as a spokesperson for LGBT issues, and I think it’s even more of a shame that people are so terrified to seem unsupportive of LGBT causes that they blindly accept FagBug at face value.

    Now’s the time to be critical. To not take everything at face value. I’m not asking to blindly accept my position, but rather judge for yourself. Check out Fag Bug’s Blog and decide for yourself. (

    In solidarity for authentic LGBT causes.

  25. Cliff Dix says:

    This has definitely hit a nerve in our community. There is so much hate not only from “straight” people but from our gay brothers and sisters as well. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against us. Would it be too much to support each other?

  26. Superboy (not your *real* name, I’m assuming), I appreciate your arguments. I think you make some really strong, sound points.

    I am not arguing that activists should live a life poverty or that activists have to be martyrs, and I don’t “hate” Erin. I just think that Erin is masquerading as something she isn’t. Erin is a documentary film maker seeking fame and notoriety. Do I think that artists can’t also be activists? No, of course not. Do I see Michael Moore’s work as making important statements and raising awareness of important issues? Yes, very much so. However, Michael Moore also doesn’t pretend as though the viewing public isn’t amply lining his pockets.

    Erin is putting herself out there and risking herself financially because she is interested in a pay-off that includes launching a career. I know many entrepreneurs who take BIG risks like this; however, they are business people, not actvists. And yes, I am aware of many top exec. of non-profits making six-figures and eating over-priced lunches, but that doesn’t mean I am going to advocate that Erin should be the next one of that kind of person, nor am I saying that is where her (or my or yours) money should go.

    You are right, I didn’t start a “stop president Bush” myspace page. But I have written many “stop President Bush” letters, and I have been to many “stop President Bush” rallies, and, on a daily basis I dialogue with all kinds of people who have different beliefs and opinions than I do (this includes my family and my students). Maybe my little acts aren’t as big or as well-noticed as Erin’s, but that’s okay with me, at least I don’t claim to be someone or something that I am not.

    For anyone who says that it is a moot point as to whether or not Erin did this herself, I completely disagree. If Erin came forward from the start and said this is an art project, an experiment, the kernel of a documentary about hate in America, then I would feel very differently toward fagbug. It is not okay to act under false pretenses and to manipulate people even if the end result is raised awareness of an important issue.

  27. RcktMan says:

    Fausto, Marc, this was another groundbreaking show. Anyone who thinks the Feast of Fools is simply about silliness, jokes and wacky news needs to hear a show like this. You handled the subject with wonderful respect, and your interview with Erin was eye-opening, interesting and enjoyable, all at the same time.

    HUGE applause to Erin for standing her ground and remaining true to herself. I wish more of us had the ability to do this, but like she said, most people would want to get it removed and fixed right away, for fear of embarrassment, shame or ridicule.

    I think a lot of the negative feedback that Erin is receiving is truly because people feel threatened by a strong response to something like this. It brings out the true colors in some people’s belief systems when these things happen.

    Erin, good luck with your journey, and I hope you make all the money you need to with your Fag Bug merchandise. Spread the word that this type of behavior is not tolerated– no matter WHERE it happens. That’s what people need to understand, and that’s exactly what you’re doing. I applaud you.

  28. hey i say more power to her.

  29. I agree with Mighty mouse and San Digego rick here I heart vermont— and What are you saying Erin is claiming to be that she’s not? I think Erin is being very clear with what she’s doing and where she is going with all this. What exactly do you not like about Erin? Take a stand! I see your arguments as wishy-washy and full of backhanded insults, not concrete points.

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment here, but at the same time it deeply saddens me that you would spend so much time wanting her to “Stop the fagbug.” She is your lesbian sister and you should be wishing her well. I think you can support someone and still question their process, not their motives.

    If you dont like HOW she’s raising awareness, then lets talk about that. But ask her to STOP? Why??? Why are you organizing a “Stop the Fagbug” MySpace page? (I’m assuming you are part of the anti-Erin camp)

    Do you think she should have the opportunity to make money from this, just like Michael Moore and his films? Yes or no? Are you jealous of her success in getting people and the medias attention? Your ambiguity is just cowardice under the disguise of intellectual curiosity.

    What is Erin lying about? What is her “falsehood?” You’re not saying anything concrete here. What would you like to see her do? Go into higher debt as a result of this project and donate the proceeds to some other charity other then her project? If you think FagBug is a bad charity, that is fine, but then you should also be trying to “Stop” all other charities you see as ineffective. All you care about is Erin.

  30. RcktMan says:

    IhrtVtMts, you said in your most recent comment:

    In solidarity for authentic LGBT causes.

    What part of this cause it not “authentic” to you?

    If your toes get deliberately stepped on by someone that hates you, you should fight back.

    If you get a brick thrown through your window because someone hates you– fight back!

    If you receive hate mail from an anonymous basher, FIGHT BACK!

    If you are gay-bashed on the street simply because you’re gay… FIGHT BACK!

    If you are denied your rights, like the right to marry or the right to live the life of a free citizen… FIGHT BACK!

    How are any of the scenarios any different from someone’s car being spray painted with derogatory statements?

    They aren’t.

    Therefore… Erin is perfectly within her right to fight back. The method used to fight back doesn’t have to be with violence, or angry protests, or fisticuffs. You do it however you choose, and Erin chose this method.

    And frankly, I believe her. Things like this happen all the time, to all different types of people.

    I’d be interested to see how you’d react if it happened to you. Not that I wish I would or anything, of course… because nobody deserves to have this happen… but you might be surprised.

  31. ihrtVTmtns
    I’m not sure why you think it is hard to believe that Erin is coming from a good place with this.

    she is interested in a pay-off that includes launching a career.

    We know Erin makes documentaries so can’t she launch a career and advocate tolerance at the same time? Do you feel that she is is being dishonest about how much money she has collected?

    I don’t claim to be someone or something that I am not.

    What exactly is Erin claiming to be that she is not?

    For anyone who says that it is a moot point as to whether or not Erin did this herself, I completely disagree.

    Why do you suspect that she might have done this herself?

  32. Eric says:

    I’d be more comfortable with the whole thing if I found out who really did it. It would have been fine if say, she wanted to do it just for art, and put it on the car herself, and I would be even more supportive of her causeif it was found out to be a hate crime.

    The thing that bothers me is the possibility that she lied about it’s origins. I fear that a lie could be extremely detrimental to her cause and may severely backfire on her. As of now the evidence is leaning both ways and to decide now is to just decide on which people you like more;Erin or the-people-who-are-doing-something-else-for-gay-people.

    For now, she should not be stopped. I think that she should however publish as soon as possible the truth about what happens; whether if someone confesses or is caught or if she herself admits that she did it. This way it’ll be easier to garner support. Like on CSI the evidence should tell the story and confirm her veracity.

    And the argument for her lying: the lack of other anti-gay messages in a gay friendly community, this being only a one time incidence it seems quite rare, to just HAPPEN to someone who likes making documentaries.
    The argument for her telling the truth: some people are just pricks, as people who don’t agree with what i have said will no doubt think i am. : )

  33. I met with Erin and spent the afternoon with her. I believe I am a good judge of character and I feel as though she did NOT spray paint the hate message herself. This kind of graffiti happens ALL the time. This time, the homophobes picked the wrong girl.

    I think it is also important to reiterate that Erin’s documentary, unlike her blog, is documenting OTHER people’s reaction to the the hate message on her bug. The documentary is not focusing on her but rather on the people who read and react to the message.

  34. Great point, Marc. I have to say I feel a little bit disappointed because it seems that, while Erin is bringing attention to the GLBT cause by driving around the country, there are so many gay people questioning her and doubting her authenticity. To me, that speaks negatively about us as a whole. How can we expect to be given rights and recognized legally etc. if we can’t even stop arguing amongst ourselves?

    Personally, I thought Erin came across as very genuine. And even if she did fake it–no one can deny that this sort of thing doesn’t happen. If people think it doesn’t, they should try living in south Texas.

    The idea of being told by people to support “other GLBT causes” is kind of insulting too. I’ll decide which cause I’ll support, thank you. Ok I’m done ranting. I feel better now.

  35. Eric- the truth is that it’s up to the police in Albany to decide who did this and if they can even prove the whomever did it. I doubt that person will ever come forward on their own accounts. I spent the afternoon with Erin, and my vibe is that she definitively did not do this, but that it was an incredibly good serendipity that it happened to such a brave and resourceful young woman. Most people naturally would have fixed their car and moved on with their lives. Erin chose to drive around the country and document people’s reactions to the car, which I think is great. I told her to get samples of her footage up on YouTube as soon as she gets home (or whenever she can) in order to continue the vital discussion the car has sparked.

    It’s a natural reaction that people have to doubt the messenger, but It’s too bad most of the discussion here is mainly focusing on the integrity of Erin Davies instead of the strategies we can take to fight hatred and intolerance.

  36. I had a 2004 Honda S2000. I came home from work and the car was trashed. It had Fag and child molester and rapist scratched into the paint. The windows were broken, the top was ripped, the dash was smashed. Its hard to even remember it. I pulled it into the garage. Left it there until I could have the insurance adjuster tell me I could take it into have it fixed. It was over 9 thousand dollars in damages. I had to drive the car to the body shop. It took 4 months to fix. The car was never the same. I got rid of it. I miss that car. That really sucked.

  37. This episode has made my “Top 10” list of best episodes ever.

    I believe that Erin did have her car vandalized. She seems way too sincere and her story held up too well under scruitiny.

    I think the guy on the phone call is much more involved in this than he wants to admit.

    He is also a scary individual, so if she is successful at getting him to meet with her, meeting him with others present (think: bodyguards) is appropriate.

    While I love the craziness that usually rules on the Feast, it is episodes like this that keep the show relevant to me.

    Keep up the good work, guys.

  38. Thanks David! Cross your finger we win “Best GLBT” podcast tomorrow!

  39. Once again the gays are their own worst enemies

  40. Awesome show.

    I’m a little confused about the mystery guy’s logic.

    He says “Since I haven’t seen hateful graffitti here, it’s probably fake.” Wouldn’t this have not been known if the girl cleaned it up and went on her way? How many other cases are being swept under the rug? Erin even said that folks have told her it’s happened to them but they hide it as soon as it happens.

    And just because it hasn’t happened before doesn’t mean it won’t, or it’s unlikely it would happen. Anywhere you go, there is going to be someone hateful.

    Erin Davies’ account of the man punching the gay individual to death. If hate can kill arbitrarily, it can use a spray can on a car JUST as arbitrarily.

    Also, he seems pretty offended that she’s from Albany. While it might not be likely simply because it hasn’t been seen by him before in Albany, who’s to say it’s a citizen of Albany? It could have been done by someone from out of town, someone visiting friends or passing through, and thought it would be a stupid prank.

    It could have come from anywhere.

    I really don’t see why he thinks it’s so unbelievable that this has happened to Erin… There are folks out there that have hate in them, and will express it in the first way that comes to mind when they walk by what sets them off. I’ve lived in a lovely neighborhood for years. No violence, no gangs. A man killed his wife and daughter at a birthday party before killing himself about two years ago. Random, confusing, unreasonable and unlikely, but it’s tragic and it happens.

    I don’t know if I would think he did it though. The only thing that makes me think he’s linked with the vandalism is his note. The words he chose were not those of curiosity. He wanted to incite something when he contacted her. Whether it’s a revenge for foiling his vandalism, or his pride as an aficionado of street art, it’s kind of hard to say.

    Gosh I love you guys. 😀

  41. The mystery man had no logic, period.

    For every person who expresses his or her self with graffiti, there will be the random putz with a spray can who decides to show the world just how stupid he or she is.

    Bigots exist in Albany, and extreme liberals exist in the Southern states. Geography has no bearing on a person’s mindset.

    Will Erin’s cross-country trip and documentary make any difference? Only time will tell.

  42. This is the best fucking podcast ever. I’m buying TWO t-shirts, goddamitt!

    Frankly, whatever Erin wants to write on her blog is her business. It’s her blog. She’s presenting how she feels for public perusal. Whether or not she bad mouths her ex-girlfriend is her business. It’s her blog, and she can say whatever she wants.

    The LGBTQ community of Albany should be backing up one of their own instead of trying to stop her. If she gains fame and notoriety for bringing to light an issue that has obviously plagued so many of us, GOOD FOR HER. I think most of us are smart enough to know that being harrassed happens everywhere- not just Albany, but even in the gay ghettos of New York and San Francisco and Chicago as well.

    I wish we weren’t so quick to cut down people just because of popularity- especially when the ends with justify the means.

  43. Flmustang says:

    I asked myself if I had the bravery to show respect for myself and our brothers and sisters, and I am stuck between standing up for myself and my safety. I commend her bravery.

  44. npica says:

    I am writing in support of us Albany “naysayers,” as Erin referred to us in her many blogs. I heart vt mts. is absoloutely right: support was lacking a long time before Erin and her gf broke up. I’m not sure that I represent everyone when I say this, but we in Albany were initially supportive of Erin, but when we realized what her actions were really about, furthering her career as a filmmaker and gaining as much publicity and cash as possible from this alleged hate crime, we began to be skeptical. Erin’s objective is her career, not raising awareness. Erin Davies is not an activiist. If some good comes from her actions, then that’s just awesome, but as of yet this is simply the work of a self-aggrandizing, self-centered, ambitious filmmaker. In any case, criticism can only be good for Erin, not bad. It can help her examine her actions and realize that the community she’s dealing with is an intelligent, knowledgeable, discriminating, and proud group of GLBTQ folks and not a bunch of Fagbug sticker-buying fools ready to jump on the latest and most fashionable GLBTQ bandwagon.

  45. npica says:

    Also, please feel free to keep the link to my blog up, as now I see that there are many others from Albany represented here in comments.

  46. N-Pica, anyone is free to comment here as long as they keep their comments “above the belt.” We appreciate the lively conversation taking place here. You can also subscribe to the comments here and recieve updates via email just by clicking on the box at the bottom of the page.

    I personally consider what Erin is doing as a form of activism as well as a form of raising funds for making a documentary about her experience. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Michael Moore and many other filmmakers like him do the exact same thing.

    Just because you say someone isn’t an “activist” doesn’t mean she isn’t one. She’s raising awareness. She’s creating social change. She’s stimulating discussion. She’s meeting with politicians and getting them to state their opinions publicly on hate crimes and how they relate to GLBT people. THAT’S not an activist?

    I’m sorry, but I see your reactions as pure jealousy. I think many communities can crucify their own because they find themselves stuck in their victimization mentality, and in this case this is the disenfranchised trying to distract one of their own from creating social change.

    Erin is a threat to you and your community because she brings into question your past inability to move society forward. Don’t blame yourself for the past. You, like Erin are doing the best you can in how to make the world a better place. But give your sister a break and embrace her with a big purple lesbian blanket. She needs your support now more than ever.

  47. I’ve got a crush on Fausto. 🙂

    I don’t care what we label her, nor if she manages to break even or advance her career. The simple brave act is what inspires me. She may not be a career “activist,” but there is some part of this project that IS an act of activism, and then there is, NO DOUBT, an act of filmmaking.

    I’m reminded of a quote, maybe by the Buddha, that goes something like, “Setting a single foot upon the path makes you a traveller.” The idea here is that you may have not gone very far or accomplished anything, but the act of taking that first step makes you a traveller – the act may be imperfect, incomplete, or even unintentional, but it’s action.

    She’s putting thought in motion and it’s causing others to put thoughts into motion and so on. I also think there is a big argument to be made that smaller grass-roots-level actions will do much more than large, grand, sweeping actions. A lot of our critics just write off NGLTF, ACLU, HRC, GLAAD, and Lambda Legal as large faceless organizations pushing a self-serving agenda. Poeple lose sight of the struggling individuals those organizations represent, but when there is a single struggling person standing in front of them it is much harder to dismiss them, and more often they are embraced through our common humanity.

    Would you not agree that individuals coming out to their families and friends everywhere would do more for our cause than all the lobbyists in Washington? Isn’t coming out a form of activism in itself? Should that brave act ever be dismissed because there are also self-serving interests involved?

    Is there not more progress in our cause at the state level than at the federal level? Are these not samller acts that move our whole cause forward? I’m not an “activist”, but I met with a representative of Governor Shwarzeneggar’s office to discuss gay rights legislation in our state. Was that not a form of activism? (It was scary for me.) For that hour, was I not an activist? I certainly have something to gain from it?

    There are gay and lesbian couples everywhere having and adopting children. They are motivated by the desire to build a family, but is this not a revolutionary act that is changing our world? Will we not look back on a generation of non-“activists” that collectively performed a great act of activism?

    I think you may just be reserving too much reverence for the title, “Activist.”

  48. patrick says:

    this has got to be one of the most inspired, most inspiring and most inspirational fof episodes ever! ladies and gentlemen… i give you exhibit A of why this podcast should win podcast of the CENTURY!!!

  49. npica says:

    Fausto, thanks for your comments and the info., but I must say, I really resent the implication that our remarks, and specifically mine, come from jealousy or from our/my position of disenfranchisement. I am definitely NOT disenfranchised in any way, nor do I feel like a victim of anything. I am out at work, SUNY Press, here in Albany, and I am out to the Grad program I just got admitted to at U-Mass, Amherst. I am out to everyone, and I vote, and I’m active in the community through rallies, demonstrations and volunteering, but I do not call myself an activist. I am becoming a teacher to effect change; I am definitely, nor do I feel, powerless.

    A dialogue on Erin’s campaign is exactly what I/us wanted, and it’s great to see. Dialogue is the kernel of change and in this situation, of trying to see beyond Erin’s myopic sticker campaign, and I am seeing that she herself has begun to change her tune and become more concrete since she’s begun to receive this criticism, so perhaps our “hatred and jealousy” of Erin is coming to some fruition.

    Please know that those of us who have objected to Erin’s m.o. would want nothing more than to support her if we believed in her campaign, and I reserve the option of supporting her in the future if I start to see her change her objectives and goals.

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