One of my best friends is gay, says historian, Niall Ferguson, in homophobia row
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 08 May 2013
The historian Niall Ferguson has denied being an “gay-basher”, claiming that his friendship with the prominent homosexual blogger Andrew Sullivan showed that he could not be homophobic.
Following days of criticism about his comments on the sexuality of economist John Maynard Keynes, the Harvard professor sought to clear his name with an open letter to The Harvard Crimson, the university’s college newspaper.
The British academic had already apologised for claiming that Keynes did not care about the future because he was gay and had no children, but said he owed it to his students to “make it unambiguously clear” that he was not homophobic.
In the letter, Ferguson, 49, said: “In my writing and teaching, I have laboured long and hard to expose precisely what was wrong about the theories that condemned homosexuals, Jews and others to discrimination and death.” As evidence that he was not a “gay-basher as some headline writers so crassly suggested” he pointed out that Sullivan , a US-based political commentator, gave a reading at his wedding and is a godfather to one of his sons.
Explaining his remarks last Thursday which sparked the row, he said: “Not for one moment did I mean to suggest that Keynesian economics as a body of thought was simply a function of Keynes’ sexuality.” But he added it could not be true that the economist’s sexuality “is totally irrelevant to our historical understanding of the man”.
Ferguson also used the letter to condemn “vituperative online critics” for their knee-jerk response to his original comments – adding that for the “self-appointed inquisitors of internet, it is always easier to accuse than seriously to inquire”.
But judging by the online comments, many students remain unimpressed, with several questioning his “some of my best friends are gay” defence, and others questioning his role as the Laurence A Tisch professor of history at Harvard.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...