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Chris Elliott (who authors a very popular and wide-read travel bog) has apologized for making the connection between a TSA Officer accused of molesting a minor and his S&M lifestyle (excerpt below).

In one short week, it seems I’ve offended sadomasochists and great white sharks with my commentary. I feel an apology is in order.

Let’s start with the S&M practitioners. In a post
about the recent problems of the TSA in Orlando, I made an offhanded reference to the those who derive pleasure from pain.

Earlier this week, a TSA officer at Orlando International Airport was arrested on charges of molesting a minor. Turns out he was reportedly a fan of bondage and sadomasochism.

The “turns out” section was actually a link to a follow-up story, and I didn’t really give it a second thought. Perhaps I should have.

Charles Henry Bennett’s MySpace profile identifies him as “Master Charles or Sir.” The online page shows the 57-year-old airport security guard has “many years experience” as a bondage and sadomasochism master and is looking to meet people, especially “submissive females.” The TSA’s blog said the agency was “deeply saddened and disgusted” by its employees actions. Bennett resigned on Monday.

The unfortunate juxtaposition of the TSA officer’s alleged crime and his sexual preferences drew an immediate response in the comments and in the blogosphere. In a post entitled, S&M practitioner = Minor molesting paedophile? NOT!! (warning: adult content) Chaz Antonelli commented, “The sort of discrimination expressed below could have been aimed in another direction (i.e. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, etc.) — we need to be ever vigilant to the subtle ‘joining’ of one lifestyle to another.”

Another reader demanded,

What does being a fan of bondage have to do with molesting a child? Are you trying to say that if you are into bdsm that makes you a molester?

As I clarified in the comments, I didn’t mean to imply a link. What you do in the privacy of your bedroom, or kitchen — as long as it’s legal, or course — is your business.

 
It was nice for Chris to apologize, although the comment linking the two separate issues was originally made in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, not by Chris directly.  
 
One thing that should be mentioned is that readers of Chris' travel blog have been anything but sympathetic as to the nature of my complaint of linking S&M to child molestation charges. They're saying things in the "comments section" of Chris' blog such as "These people need to get some thicker skin!" and "Oy! If sadomasochists like pain, why are you apologizing for offending them???".  One comment from "Steve" reads: "You should NOT have to apologize for the few idiotic, interpreting everything literally, PC people out there. It’s time political correctness went the way of the dinosaur. These people need to get some thicker skin!"
 
The important factor?  Chris' blog is completely moderated, which means all of these comments were approved by Chris Elliott before able to be seen by the public.  So, is Chris' apology truly sincere when he allows this sort of torch-wielding mob-mentality to verbally abuse the S&M community?
 
While I agree that some levels of "political correctness" (i.e. nice manners) are extreme, I do believe in any case where a minority is singled out and mass-ridiculed by a majority, I feel some level of sensevity is warranted.  Don't you?
 
Add you two cents to the comments section of Chris Elliott's blog here.
 
 
 
 



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