Monday, February 6, 2017

Iowa State Representative Ralph Watts Called Out for Repeatedly Using Anti-Gay Slur Against Former Democratic Challenger at Public Event

I learned a new anti-gay slur today. There was a public forum in Adel, IA, on 02/04/17 with State Representative Ralph Watts. Kale Smith, the husband of Watts' 2016 Democratic challenger Bryce Smith, was live-streaming the event on Facebook when he got challenged for recording the event by ReNae Watts Arnold, Rep Watts' daughter. That's when Watts began referring to Bryce Smith as "Red Rider." Repeatedly:
ReNae Watts Arnold: Can I just ask something, quick?

Ralph Watts: OK.

Arnold: Someone made a comment that it’s not fair to be videotaped for personal use. Is it ok for Bryce Smith to be videotaping for personal use?

Kale Smith: This is a public forum, so yeah, it’s fair.

Watts: Hey, by the way-

(cross talk from other audience members: “That’s the point I made”)

Arnold: It’s a public forum.

Kale Smith: I’m not videotaping them.

Arnold: So it’s ok for everybody else to videotape, but not for–

Kale Smith: Why are you videotaping?

Watts: By the way, where is-

Arnold: Why are you?

Watts: If you’re videotaping that–

Arnold: Why are you? So you can talk bad about him on social media.

Kale Smith: I’m not talking bad about him.

Arnold: Where’s Bryce?

Kale Smith: Bryce has a business that he’s running right now.

Watts (laughs, raises arms for attention): Hey wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait–

Arnold: And he’s the one to talk crap on social media, and he’s not here.

Kale Smith: No. He’s holding a public forum, but can’t even announce it?

Arnold: He [Bryce Smith] went to an Urbandale in Polk County forum and called him [Watts] out,

Watts (laughs): Wait, wait-

Kale Smith: Because he wasn’t there.

Arnold: Because he wasn’t there. It’s not his district.

Watts (laughs, raises arms)

Kale Smith (knocks on table for emphasis): It is too his district.

Arnold: This is his district.

Kale Smith: He is in charge of part of Polk County.

Unidentified man in audience: Not in Urbandale.

Watts (laughs, starts walking forward): No big deal.

Kale Smith: Yes, he has part of Urbandale. Yes, he does.

Watts: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, let me deal with that, let me deal with that. [Walks over to Kale Smith, leans forward onto desk.] By the way, where is red rider today?

Kale Smith: He is running his business right up the street.

Watts: He is? He complained that I didn’t go to Urbandale. This forum is four blocks from his business.

Kale Smith: He’s not an elected official. He’s not an elected official.

Watts: But he’s been chirping and sniping ever since the election.

Kale Smith: It’s your duty as the elected official to go to public forums for your constituents.

Watts: Where is red rider?

Kale Smith: He’s not an elected official. This isn’t his–this is not his duty. This is your duty.

Watts: It wasn’t his duty in Urbandale either.

Kale Smith: Yeah, he can attend.

Watts: Where is red rider?

Smith: OK. Watts: OK. You got that? (points at Kale Smith)

Kale Smith: Yeah, you bet. Have fun. 
Watts: All right. 
About five minutes later, Watts referred to Bryce Smith as Red Rider again and derisively questioned why Smith wasn't at the public forum. (Hint: He wasn't there, because he lost his election and it's the state representative. It's not his job to be there.) You can read Bryce Smith's response to Rep Watt's nasty words here.

I'm in my mid-40s and I'd never heard of "Red Rider" as an anti-gay slur before, so I had to do some research. Luckily, Urban Dictionary came through for me. Basically, it's a term for a gay top who's into barebacking and rough sex. I'm less offended by the term than I am by the way that Watts continually and mockingly referred to Smith as a Red Rider.

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