A planned forum on climate change for Democratic presidential candidates lost several major sponsors on Saturday in the wake of the left-leaning magazine The New Republic publishing — and later retracting — a vulgar and homophobic story related to gay presidential contender Pete Buttigieg.
The New Republic was slated as a chief sponsor of a September event designed to spark climate change discussion among candidates during a U.N. climate summit. The magazine pulled down what it called "an opinion piece" about Buttigieg soon after its publication on Friday, citing "criticism of the piece's inappropriate and invasive content." But The New Republic as well as three top sponsors bowed out of the climate change event.
The League of Conservation Voters said in a statement withdrawing from the climate forum that the magazine's "offensive piece" about the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, "and the choice to run it, are inconsistent with our values." The Center for American Progress Action Fund said that while it "strongly supports the idea of giving the candidates a forum to address climate change," remaining a backer of the planned forum "is not possible" following The New Republic's decision to publish its Buttigieg story.
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Another sponsor of the summit, G/O Media, wrote Saturday that the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund environmental group also had withdrawn from the forum after The New Republic's piece and that the magazine itself had also backed out of the event. The forum is still scheduled for Sept. 23 in New York.
Asked for his reaction to the magazine article, Buttigieg said Saturday: "I appreciated that article was taken down. I don't think it really reflects the New Republic that I know."
Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe in Waterloo, Iowa, contributed to this report.