Facebook seeks advice from Tony Perkins, who blamed gays for hurricanes

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council

Facebook has reportedly been getting guidance from extreme evangelical leader Tony Perkins, who has claimed paedophilia is a “homosexual problem” and blamed gay people for hurricanes.

The social media giant has been reaching out to conservatives and right-wing groups for input over policy decisions, after criticism about the moderation of abusive content on the website.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (January 8) of “behind-the-scenes lobbying” from right-wing groups, while Facebook has also “privately sought advice from the Family Research Council… and its president Tony Perkins.”

The Family Research Council is a US-based evangelical lobbying group. It is designated a hate group by civil rights organisation Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremists groups, for their denigratory stance against LGBT+ people.

Facebook reportedly sought advise from Tony Perkins

FRC boss Tony Perkins has professed a number of shocking beliefs about gay people, claiming in a 2018 blog post that decriminalising homosexuality was a “mistake”.

In 2015, Perkins claimed that Hurricane Joaquin devastated the Bahamas because “God is trying to send us a message” following the US Supreme Court ruling in favour of equal marriage, adding: “Those on the left like to mock these things.”

Perkins has also repeatedly pushed discredited claims that homosexuality is linked to paedophilia.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before the US Senate

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before the US Senate (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Writing on the FRC website, he claimed: “While activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. … It is a homosexual problem.”

In 2011, Perkins also opposed the It Gets Better campaign, which was intended to prevent suicide among LGBT+ youth, describing homosexuality as a “perversion.”

He claimed: “They are aimed at persuading kids that although they’ll face struggles and perhaps bullying for ‘coming out’ as homosexual (or transgendered or some other perversion), life will get better. … It’s disgusting. And it’s part of a concerted effort to persuade kids that homosexuality is okay and actually to recruit them into that lifestyle.”

Tony Perkins condemned by Jewish groups for linking gays to Holocaust

Perkins has also been condemned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League in the past for repeatedly linking gay rights to the Holocaust and comparing gay people to Nazis.

In 2014 Perkins insisted Christians are “going to find ourselves being loaded in cattle cars like it was when the Nazis took over before we realize we are in such terrible danger”.

He claimed that Christians are being sent to “camps”, and that soon gays are “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians”.

The group has also cheered on the imposition of a harsh new anti-gay law in Uganda.

PinkNews has contact Facebook for comment. Facebook declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook slammed by civil rights groups for ‘generating bigotry’

LGBT+ groups were among those to express concerns in December about the platform’s failure to tackle hate speech.

A letter signed, among others, by Southern Poverty Law Center, National LGBTQ Task Force, NAACP and Muslim Advocates read: “We write to express our profound disappointment regarding Facebook’s role in generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities.

“It’s become abundantly clear that, as currently constituted, your leadership team is unable to adequately address the valid concerns of the civil rights community.

“In the face of clear evidence that Facebook was being used to broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly bigoted campaigns, the company’s leadership consistently either looked the other way, or actively worked to lobby against meaningful regulation, shifted public opinion against its allies, and personally attacked its critics.

“Though Facebook has had significant time, opportunity and the benefit of input from experts and advocacy groups to address the problems on the platform, your company chose to target civil rights groups and our allies instead of changing the way you do business.”