Back in May, comedian Louis Virtel wrote proudly about how he’d pulled off the gayest move in the history of Jeopardy!, an emphatic snap after he nailed a crucial Daily Double. His only regret about his appearance on the show was that, despite the obvious signaling in the snap heard ‘round the world, he didn’t explicitly say “I’m gay” on TV. If he had, maybe the bumbling GOP wouldn’t have used Virtel’s moment of triumph as part of a promotion for its State of the Union responses.
The party whose attitude toward gay people and their rights is unfriendly at best and openly hostile at worst decided to respond to President Obama via Snapchat in something they called “Snap of the Union.” And right there on GOP.gov, promoting the Republican Snapchat account, was a GIF of Virtel’s famous moment. The irony was rich and thick, and Virtel picked up on it immediately.
In a post on Hitfix Tuesday night, he explained why the Republican party appropriating his image was both stupid and ineffective:
“The fact that the GOP can’t detect gay pride in arguably the gayest Jeopardy! moment of all time is proof of their brutal ignorance,” he wrote. “There is nothing sassy or cute about the GOP invoking my image to prove they’re hip with the kids, who almost unanimously think they’re a joke anyway. The GOP’s aggressive, antigay hysteria fills me with contempt, and this is just another laughably moronic mistake to consider alongside their regressive legacy.”
Despite Virtel’s objections in his essay and on Twitter, the Jeopardy! GIF remains up on GOP.gov.