TV anchor shares disgusting, hateful abuse she received for covering Colorado Springs shooting

A Twitter screenshot of TV anchor Ashley Michels wearing a light blue top and smiling as she takes a selfie in the green room of KWGN news set.

A TV anchor has received disgusting and abusive messages from anti-LGBTQ+ viewers for covering the Colorado Springs shooting.

Colorado KWGN reporter Ashley Michels wrote in a Wednesday (23 November) tweet that a number of hateful messages had been sent to her after the channel covered the deadly shooting in the LGBTQ+ bar Club Q.

The tragic incident, which took place on 19 November, saw a shooter take the lives of five people and injure many more during a drag event at the LGBTQ+ bar.

“Unfortunately, I have covered mass shootings multiple times in my career,” she wrote. “This is the first time I can recall getting message after message from viewers like this.”

The comments parrot a number of anti-LGBTQ+ dog whistles, while also saying that being gay “is a sin” and that the broadcaster should “keep in mind all your viewers when promoting sin”.

“GIVE IT UP, FOR GOD’S SAKE!” one comment read. “Others are sick of hearing about these people. Nothing else to report?”

Another read: “Please stop talking about the stupid gay club shooting, no matter how much you talk about it no one is going to [care] about it thank you and keep your opinion to yourself. It is the news, not the opinion hour.”

Users were shocked but not surprised at the comments, with some saying they were “horrific”.

“Imagine how empty those viewers’ lives are… How utterly devoid of meaning or warmth they must be… Empathy and compassion are a gift they will probably never come to grasp,” one person wrote.

Others thanked Michels for her work in covering the tragedy, saying: “Please continue covering it while there is still something valuable to say.

“It is newsworthy, and people’s deaths shouldn’t be papered over because others find their lifestyle threatening.”

AOC links Colorado Springs shooting to anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) blamed similar kinds of hateful messages against the LGBTQ+ community for the resulting mass shooting.

She told Republicans to “connect the dots” between their hateful campaign and the shooting in a tweet on Sunday (20 November).

“After Trump elevated anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric, we had the deadliest anti-Latino shooting in modern history,” the New York representative wrote. After anti-Asian hate w/COVID, Atlanta. Tree of life. Emanuel AME. Buffalo.

“And now after an anti-LGBT+ campaign, Colorado Springs. Connect the dots, GOP.”

AOC also slammed Colorado representative Lauren Boebert for her response to the mass shooting.

She said that Boebert “played a major role in elevating anti-LGBTQ+ hate rhetoric” while also “blocking even the most common sense gun safety laws”.

“You don’t get to ‘thoughts and prayers’ your way out of this.”

Similarly, president Joe Biden said that the US continues to see the “devastating” impact that anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric has on its people.

“We continue to see it in the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of colour,” he said. “And tragically, we saw it last night in this devastating attack by a gunman wielding a long rifle at an LGBTQI+ nightclub in Colorado Springs.”