CommunityPam's House Blend

BET co-founder, billionaire Sheila Johnson supports homophobe running for governor of VA

Uh, uh. No bleeping way this is going to slip under the radar. Black Entertainment Television co-founder Sheila Johnson, a multi-billionaire with money to spend to support any pol she wishes, has opened her wallet for anti-gay Republican Bob McDonnell, who is running for governor of Virginia. (Rod 2.0):

“Several years ago, Mr. McDonnell sought to block the reappointment of a Newport News Circuit Judge named Verbina Askew because she was allegedly gay. [McDonnell] went to great pains to assert that the judge’s sexual orientation did not matter to him; rather, the fact that she may have violated Virginia anti-sodomy statute in force at the time, which prohibited oral and anal sex, was a factor to consider in her reappointment.

Said McDonnell at the time, ‘It [possible sodomy] certainly raises some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge. There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law. I’m not telling you I would disqualify a judge per se if he said he was gay. I’m talking about their actions.’ ” 

More from McDonnell’s campaign site:

Jefferson wrote that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights-life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I believe this great truth applies to every American – born and unborn, and as Governor I will defend innocent human life.

…Bob McDonnell believes marriage is the union between one man and one woman. As a legislator, Bob McDonnell was chief sponsor and author of a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage (Chief Patron, HJ 187, 2004). As Attorney General, Bob supported Virginia’s marriage amendment and wrote an official opinion explaining that it would not affect the current legal rights of unmarried persons.

Below the fold, McDonnell’s press release on Johnson’s endorsement.Here you  go…I guess gay and lesbian families are shut out in their vision of his executive leadership.

Sheila Crump Johnson Endorses Bob McDonnell for Governor

Middleburg Resident is Co-Founder of Black Entertainment Television, a Local Business Owner and Noted Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

RICHMOND- Sheila Crump Johnson, co- founder of Black Entertainment Television, local Middleburg business owner and noted philanthropist and entrepreneur, today endorsed Bob McDonnell in his campaign for governor. The announcement was made at a mid-afternoon press conference in downtown Richmond.

Speaking about the endorsement, Johnson said, “Make no mistake, these are tough economic times for all Virginians. Unemployment is on the rise and families are struggling to stay in their homes. We need bold and innovative leadership to move our state forward and that’s why I’ve chosen to support Bob McDonnell for Governor.  He has shown me that he has the right vision and the executive leadership skills that will guide Virginia through these challenging times. He understands that we have to help businesses in our state – both big and small – thrive so that we put Virginians back to work. I’m proud to endorse Bob McDonnell to be our next governor.”

Bob McDonnell noted, “Sheila Johnson is known worldwide for her business acumen, artistic talent, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to helping others. Here in the Commonwealth she is one of our leading citizens as a businesswoman, employer, developer, charitable donor and passionate advocate for her many causes. I have gotten to know Sheila, and I know she takes her political endorsements very seriously. We share a mutual commitment to revitalizing Virginia’s economy, getting Virginians back to work and ensuring that the same opportunities that we have both been blessed by will still be there for future generations.”

McDonnell continued, “We are running a positive campaign dedicated to bringing people together to create new jobs and more opportunities in Virginia. Today’s announcement speaks to the growing support for our effort. I am tremendously honored to have received Sheila’s endorsement. I look forward to working with her in the years ahead as we get Virginia’s economy back on track and our citizens back to work.”

About Sheila C. Johnson

Sheila C. Johnson is the CEO of Salamander Hospitality, a company she founded in 2005. As CEO, Ms. Johnson oversees a growing portfolio of luxury properties including Woodlands Inn in Summerville, South Carolina and Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club (a 900 acre, 72-hole resort) in Innisbrook, Florida.  In 2008, Salamander Hospitality began construction on Salamander Resort & Spa, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Middleburg, Virginia. When the resort opens in spring 2011, it is poised to become one of the most unique and sought after retreats in the world. Ms. Johnson presently owns Market Salamander and Salamander Touch also located in Middleburg.

As a partner in Lincoln Holdings, Ms. Johnson is the only African-American woman to have ownership in three professional sports teams: the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Ms. Johnson serves as President and Managing Partner of the Mystics.  Ms. Johnson is also a partner in ProJet Aviation, a comprehensive aviation service company specializing in aviation consulting, aircraft acquisitions, management, and charter services based in Winchester, Virginia.

Ms. Johnson has long been a powerful influence in the entertainment industry as a founding partner of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and most recently as a film producer. In partnership with other investors, her first film, Kicking It, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. She served as sole executive producer on her second film, A Powerful Noise, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. As a philanthropist, she has been a strong advocate of CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. An avid supporter of the arts and an accomplished violinist, Ms. Johnson serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Parsons The New School for Design in New York, a board member of the Americans for the Arts, and a supporter of VH1 Save the Music Foundation.  She sits on the boards of the Tiger Woods Foundation, The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, and the University of Illinois Foundation. Johnson is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of Illinois, as well as honorary degrees from numerous other institutions. Ms. Johnson lives in Middleburg, Virginia.

Surely if she “takes her political endorsements very seriously,” she knows McDonnell’s stand on civil rights…for all people. And she’s willing to overlook his support of the Commonwealth’s onerous marriage discrimination amendment and lack of support for any pro-LGBT rights legislation.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding