Tennessee Gov. Randy McNally has said he is taking a break from social media after it was revealed he repeatedly commented on LGBTQ personalities’ Instagram posts.
The Associated Press reports that McNally, 79, said in a statement Monday that he intends to “pause” all social media activity. It comes just a week after he said he had “no intention of stopping” when asked about comments he made on a racy post by a 20-year-old gay man on Instagram.
“While I see now that I should have been more careful about how my comments and activism are understood, my goal has always been to engage and encourage,” the statement read.
“For this reason, I will be pausing my social media activity in order to reflect and receive further guidance regarding [its] Uses.”
Since then, Mr. McNally’s Instagram account, which was public previously, has been made private. The lieutenant Republican governor came under scrutiny last week after Tennessee Holler He revealed his interactions with LGBT+ models on his Instagram account.
In a post that showed the 20-year-old’s butt, dressed only in underwear, Mr. McNally first commented “You can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine,” then added heart and fire emojis in a separate comment.
In another video of the man dancing, Mr. McNally commented “I love it,” along with a heart emoji. Mr. McNally also wrote, “Very nice” in the portrait of an adult artist.
The deputy governor later apologized and said he did not intend to embarrass his friends, family or members of the legislature.
A spokesperson for Mr. McNally also said he is a “prolific social media commenter” who frequently posts encouraging messages to his many followers, but does not always use “the right emoji at the right time”.
McNally, who has been a state legislator since the late 1970s, was accused of hypocrisy after he helped pass a bill criminalizing participation in an “adult cabaret performance” featuring “male or female impersonators” on public property or elsewhere. A minor can see them.
In an interview with NewsChannel 5, Mr. McNally said that “too much” should not be taken away from his comments and that he simply linked “encouraging people” to his comments.
“I am really, really sorry if I embarrassed my family, embarrassed my friends, embarrassed any members of the legislature with the posts,” he said in an interview broadcast on March 9. “It was not my intention… to hurt them.”
During the interview, he also indicated that he opposed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples in 2020.
McNally said he has received support from fellow Republicans and Democrats and that whether or not to resign is up to senators.
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