A tweet made a year ago had school trustee candidate Ben Besler doing damage control the night prior to early voting.
Tuesday afternoon, Twitter was on fire with accusations of a “Besler cover up” regarding “slurs” to both the gay and Muslim communities.
On Dec. 19, 2012, Besler wrote:
“@AlanForseth I’m waiting for the sequel, the “queeran”. That could spark some intrigue.”
The comment was in response to a news article about the release of a gay interpretation of the Bible, called the “Queen James Bible.”
The tweet was deleted Monday evening after it resurfaced on Twitter.
Several tweets erupted demanding an apology from Besler, calling the comment offensive, calling him untrustworthy, and asking why the tweet was deleted, why he was hiding from the issue.
Besler told The Progress the tweet was not meant to be offensive or discriminatory. In the conversational context, he didn’t believe the meshing of the Qur’an, the Muslim Bible, with queer was offensive.
“I was intrigued, that was the context, with the whole concept of rewriting holy scriptures,” he said. “I never stated an opinion on the conversation other than stating that the conversation was intriguing. In no way was it discriminatory.”
Deleting the tweet was not meant as a cover-up, he said.
“If someone’s going to feel offended by something, I’ll remove it because at the end of the day it’s really easy to take a tweet out of context,” he said. “Twitter’s probably not the best medium for some of the more weighted discussions. It’s really hard to get a thought across in 140 characters, especially when you see something ironic … irony doesn’t really play out well on Twitter.”
Besler was adamant he has no issues with Muslims or homosexuals.
“I have homosexual friends, I have Muslim friends, I have Christian friends, I have heterosexual friends, I have Jewish friends,” he said. “I’m the inclusive guy whether it’s special education or revenue streams or sexuality or religion. I’m not offended by any of those things.”
Besler felt the resurfacing of the tweet was meant as a character attack by others in the trustee byelection race.
“If all they can come up with is character assassination attempts, then I must be doing something right,” he said.