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Politico Takes Heat for Blaming Roy Cohn’s Death by AIDS on His ‘Decadent Homosexual Lifestyle’

“I don’t understand how Politico had enough [gall] to publish this very homophobic/HIV stigmatizing piece,” one commenter writes

Last Updated: August 20, 2018 @ 1:18 PM

Politico came in for a storm of criticism after a senior staff writer for the website, Michael Kruse, wrote in a piece published on Sunday that former Trump adviser and Republican fixer Roy Cohn died from AIDS as a “result of the decadent homosexual lifestyle he denied to the end.”

The language in the piece was amended several hours after publication to remove the phrase “decadent homosexual lifestyle,” an editor’s note followed several hours laters after multiple inquires from TheWrap and others online.

“An earlier version of this story contained language about Roy Cohn that was deemed insensitive and has been removed,” reads a terse statement at the top of the article.

Reps to Politico did not immediately respond to request for comment.

But critics were quick to take offense at Kruse’s original wording — you can read the original uncorrected version here, where it will exist for all eternity on the internet archive.

“I don’t understand how Politico had enough [gall] to publish this very homophobic/HIV stigmatizing piece,” one commenter wrote.

Another added, “This is so insanely irresponsible.”

The passage in question came just after Kruse quoted from a memoir by Cohn, which he noted was published “in 1988, two years after he died from AIDS, the result of the decadent homosexual lifestyle he denied to the end.”

Cohn, a notorious figure who rose to power as counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s hunt for Communists in the U.S. during the 1950s, was also a closeted gay man (and a key character in Tony Kushner’s award-winning play “Angels in America”).

It’s not the first time Politico reporters have stepped in it with their characterizations of things. Only weeks ago, reporter Marc Caputo insulted Trump supporters’ teeth during a rally in Tampa, Florida and was forced to delete the remark and apologize.

“We will always defend a fair and free press and support colleagues who are treated unfairly or in an abusive manner, but contributing to an already divisive environment with tweets such as this undermines that cause,” a rep for Politico told TheWrap at the time. “This tweet does not meet our standards, and we’ve addressed it with Marc. We should all aspire to do better.”