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Florida Columnist Retires, Decrying State’s Descent into ‘Gay-Bashing Authoritarian Dystopia


In a piece published Friday, a well-known columnist at the South Florida Sun Sentinel said he was leaving his job because he thought the state was turning into a “gay-bashing authoritarian dystopia.”

In the piece, columnist Fred Grimm said goodbye to his South Florida readers and talked about his 56-year career as a reporter. He also lamented that most people in the state now back Trump candidates and are against Disney, the LGBTQ movement, and other progressive causes.

“Not that it hasn’t been fun chronicling Florida’s descent into a waterlogged, python-infested, uninsurable, hurricane-pummeled, book-banning, gay-bashing authoritarian dystopia, but I’m outta here,” Grimm began his farewell piece.

At the beginning of the piece, Grimm said that one reason he might be leaving the business was his “old age.” “At 76, my arthritic fingers no longer dance along the keyboard,” he said.

“Maybe I’ve been worn down by so many hours staring at a blank computer screen, deadline looming, desperation building, and inspiration lagging,” he said. He also wondered if he was just tired of this job.

Grimm also said that the “cumulative effect of chronicling so many awful disasters” was one reason he was leaving the business. However, he made it clear that the state’s conservative politics were also a factor.

He said, “Another thing has taken the fun out of journalism: a nasty, mutant strain of populism has taken hold of Florida and the rest of red-state America.” The facts don’t matter. Medical knowledge is turned down. Great works of literature are not allowed. Abortion is against the law. Teachers are being mistreated. Disney is made to look bad. MAGA politicians, who are up to their shins in water on hot days, say we’re not in the middle of global warming.

Grimm went on to use a long list of right-wing stereotypes to explain the state’s and red America’s political views.

“In the meantime, the lies, sexual misconduct, and financial scams of MAGA heroes are written off as made up by the media.” People on the left call jury decisions and fair elections “conspiracies.”

The columnist said that Republicans think “violent insurrection” is okay and said that “Vladimir Putin is a role model” for them.

“Homophobia, racism, and xenophobia provide the subtext of the new politics,” he said, adding that “a majority of white working class Americans, including most of my relatives back in West Virginia, support politicians who promise to beat elites and put minorities down.”

Grimm said that he often feels like he “was working for the DeSantis campaign” because his “campaign operatives instantly repackage media criticism into fund-raising appeals.”

Lastly, he wrote that he just can’t find the hope to deal with all of this, especially since Trump is still very popular, there could be a “hellish hurricane season,” and LeBron James “isn’t returning to South Florida.”

“I have lost all hope.” I no longer have any energy left in me. It’s time to give this place to writers who see the bright side of things. Thank you. Have fun. “I’ll miss you,” he said in the end.

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