“I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance,” the singer tweeted Wednesday. “If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he’s got my vote. Too bad he probably won’t.”
This informal endorsement of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul set off a firestorm of angry tweets, with people accusing Clarkson of supporting racism and the death penalty, and of not supporting equal rights for same-sex couples. One Twitter user called her “stupid,” while another tweeted, “Now THAT is how you get someone to unfollow you on Twitter ... and in your career. Good luck — you’ll need it.”
The attack against Clarkson’s support of Paul was most likely sparked by newsletters published in the 1990s by a company he founded. Some statements from the newsletters have been described as “racist” and offensive. Paul has denied he was the author of these newsletters and said he had no knowledge of their content. “I didn’t write them, I disavow them. That’s it,” Paul told CNN during a recent interview.
“I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent,” Clarkson later tweeted, after personally responding to a number of messages from angry Twitter users. “I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women’s rights, men’s rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he’s my favorite.”
But even that was not enough to stop the at times nasty tweets from rolling in. Clarkson, who said she voted Democrat in the last election, sent another tweet with the simple message: If you don’t like what I’m saying, don’t listen.
Man my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y’all ever disagree with something I say please don’t feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect. Being hateful is not a healthy way to get people to see or hear you. I was raised to respect people and their decisions and beliefs and I hope you will grant me the same decency. If you don’t agree with me simply unfollow me. It’s really that easy. I hope you don’t because I would love the chance to hear what you have to say but if you’re so blinded by hate you can’t seek peace and progress then that is your unfortunate prerogative.