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Gaffe of the week: New Zealand PM under fire for using ‘gay’ the wrong way

John Key called a shirt colour gay during an interview, but says he didn't mean it

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key is getting a lesson in picking his words carefully.

On a radio show last Friday he made fun of host Jamie Mackay for wearing a red shirt:

"What you're wearing is an absolute disgrace. You parade yourself as some sort of centre-right interested community leader and you're in the red," said Key on air. "You're munted mate. You're never going to make it. You've got that gay red top on."

Key said he picked the term up from his children and insisted when he said gay it was just meant to be used as a synonym for weird, but people aren't buying it.

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A fellow Kiwi politician, who is gay, called the statement a "homophobic playground slur" and a number of politicians wore red shirts to Parliament earlier this week.

On top of that, a 'Gay Red Shirt Day' is being organized for Friday on Facebook. The page was started Tuesday with the the slogan, "Because, John, gay doesn't mean stupid." It has more than 2,000 likes.

U.S. parenting blogger Julie Savage also picked up on the gaffe and is promoting 'Gay Red Shirt Day' as an international event.

"Parents have a responsibility to pay attention to the words and world around our kids," she wrote. "Let's watch our language at home and come up with more creative specific alternatives."

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Key defended his using the word by saying he's voting for same-sex marriage and "young people use it all the time, I don't think too many people would be offended by it. If someone is I apologize for it."

Key is also under attack after allegedly saying English soccer player David Beckham was as "thick as bats**t" to a group of school children on the same day. He is "categorically" denying making the comment, according to TVNZ. Looks like he hasn't learned his lesson with picking words carefully.

Maybe after he sees a bunch of people wearing red on Friday, he'll learn the meanings of words. For that, Prime Minister John Key is awarded this week's Gaffe of the Week, commemorated with the statue of Rob Ford in butter.

Rob Ford in butterRob Ford in butter

Gaffe of the Week runs each Thursday on Yahoo! Canada News.
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