On Friday, Newsweek editor Kurt Soller summarized some of the feedback the editorial team had received, including a response from PFLAG executive director Jody Huckaby:
While some saw the story as a saga of self-discovery, others viewed it as a tale of sexual harassment--in which King's taunting of McInerney, including rumors of a relationship as well as a valentine, crossed the line. "Larry was a bully and was allowed to get away with it because the school officials were fricking afraid to confront him because he said he was gay," wrote Divadawn. "It saddens me that the end result was death and I'm not condoning what Brandon did, but I'm also not condoning what Larry and the school officials did." Other readers wrote that "Larry should have been admonished for sexual harassment," and that given McInerney's declining grades and recent classroom disruption, "the adults in this situation should have been watching Brandon like a hawk."
Jody Huckaby, the executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, who released a statement on our story, echoed that idea: "California has a strong anti-bullying law that specifically includes our gay and transgender kids," he writes. "But it is how adults--both parents and educators--ensure the law is carried out, and that teachable moments are seized, that makes all the difference in the world." There is something to be learned here, he argues, from the death of Larry King and its coverage by the magazine. "We need to give our children the room, and the safety, to be who they are," he adds.